Michelle Sirott | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Michelle Sirott

Background:  

Point B is a management consulting firm, property developer and venture capital company, with offices in Phoenix and other U.S. cities.

The Mistake:

My mistake was trying to be good at everything.

The pace of change in the world is pretty crazy right now and in consulting that gets magnified by the number of industries, technologies and types of businesses we work with.

Early in my career, I felt a lot of pressure – which was really self-imposed – to be an expert in whatever I was doing. I spent a lot of time taking classes and doing research, always trying to be an expert in everything – which is never possible. It’s kind of this never-ending circle of stress. 

It wasn’t until I started moving into a leadership role, and going through Meyers-Briggs and other self-assessments, that it got to the point where it was clearly impossible to know everything about every subject.

Early in my career, I felt a lot of pressure to be an expert in whatever I was doing.  

The Lesson:

I realized that the important lesson was to understand your strengths and focus on them. Really look at developing where that’s going to make the biggest impact and then look for other ways to fill the knowledge or skill gaps.

Most people want to have a command of the things that they’re working on. For me, it’s an ongoing recognition that I need to think about it and make choices about where I’m going to spend my time developing. 

I think the impact was on how I manage my time, how I focus on my development and how I think about my team. Every year, I ask myself: "What are the goals I’m trying to achieve and where can I make a direct impact? Who around me can fill those other gaps and what are the things I need to work on to become better at what I’m doing?"

I think it helps guide where I spend my development efforts and also how I structure my leadership team.

Follow Point B on Twitter at @PointB.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Sirott

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