Bruce Tunnicliffe vs Sidney Crosby: Focus on Your Strengths

Bruce Tunnicliffe vs Sidney Crosby: Focus on Your Strengths

Bruce Tunnicliffe

by Bruce Tunnicliffe

Have you ever watched someone perform a difficult task effortlessly? On the ice rink, I watch other players efficiently skate, skillfully deke, and prolifically score… while I have difficulty accepting a pass! A logical solution would be for me to work on my hockey weaknesses to improve my skills. But will I ever be as good as other players? Could I be as good as Sidney Crosby?

Bruce and Sidney

We each have different talents, some tasks we’re naturally good at, some tasks we’re naturally bad at. A theory was presented in a 2001 book entitled “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, which described focusing on building your strengths (talents) rather than focusing on weaknesses. There is interest in this message as the book and its follow up (StrengthsFinder 2.0) has sold more than 6 million copies.

In comparing myself to Sidney Crosby, consider this formula:

Strength  =  Talent  x  Investment


Strength = the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance

Talent = a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving

Investment = time spent practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge base

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’ll assume I have a natural hockey Talent of 4 and Investment of 4, for a total hockey Strength score of 16. Compare this to Sydney Crosby who probably scores 100 (10 Talent x 10 Investment). He’s one of the top players in the NHL, would my score of 16 get me on the Leafs roster? Maybe. But even if I spent all my time on hockey, and moved my Investment to a 10, I could only score a Strength score of 40 due to my natural Talent. This might place me on Buffalo’s first line, but I still can’t compete with Crosby. So, Sidney 1, Bruce 0.

Here is a quote from Gallup:

“People who do focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more productive too, both individually and in teams. And they are more than three times as likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.”

Sidney Crosby has an excellent quality of life because he’s doing what he is good at and doing what he enjoys. Sidney might score higher than me on an ice surface, but how would he fair with environmental remediation? I’d say Sidney would score 0 for remediation. So, Sidney 1, Bruce 1.

In business and in life, what is your strength? Have you ever felt pressure to become better at something, but don’t enjoy improving your weakness? We seem to devote a lot of time and energy focusing on our shortcomings rather than looking to improve our strengths (click here for the story of Rudy). Is focusing on a weakness an efficient use of your time, will it allow you to excel in business and in life?

In business, whether you are managed or manage someone, have a look at this data from StrengthsFinder 2.0:

If your manager primarily: The chances of you being actively disengaged are:
Ignores you 40%
Focuses on your weaknesses 22%
Focuses on your strengths 1%

If you’re interested in the Now, Discover Your Strength author’s classification of Talents (Strengths), click here. Review the list, and think on what your top 5 Talents may be. Based upon this data, do not primarily focus on your weaknesses or the weaknesses of those around you. Celebrate your strengths, work to improve your strengths and the strengths of those around you. You and your team will benefit. Also, do not ignore the people you work with, engage in those around you, you’ll be happier as a result.

I focus on environmental remediation for my life and Sidney Crosby plays hockey for his. We’ve both navigated to our natural talents and we’re both engaged in our work. Does this mean it’s a tie game? No. There is a difference between Sidney and I…I’ll continue to work on improving my hockey skills whereas Crosby will never get better at remediation. Final Score – Sidney 1, Bruce 2.

In my opinion, to be fully engaged in work and in life, focus on improving your strengths and the strengths of those around you. This is not to say you can ignore your weaknesses, but be aware that you have a choice in where to focus your majority of your time and energy.