Leverage your strengths. Whether you are an executive onboarding into a new role, leading a turn around or just looking to accelerate value creation, the answer is almost always to focus on and leverage your existing strongest talents, knowledge, skills, capabilities. If you can supplement that with ways to compensate for your relative weaknesses, so much the better.
When Michael Eisner and Frank Wells took over The Walt Disney Company in the 1980s they successfully reignited the business through a focus on four of Disney’s existing, lapsed or under-leveraged strengths: rebuilding the animation studio, raising prices in the theme parks, building out the land in Florida and expanding Disney stores.
In contrast with this, MarissaMayer has continued and accelerated Yahoo’s decline by downplaying its online advertising heritage strengths and trying to turn it into a product company.
So, leverage your strengths first. Compensate for weaknesses second. Learn from Yahoo’s mistakes and Disney’s success.