Ari on Business

Natural Law #10: Whatever your strengths are, they will likely lead straight into your weaknesses

It took me a really long time to recognize the truth of this law. But having realized the reality of it I can’t recall a single time that it hasn’t proven true. I can tell you, too, that accepting it has radically reduced my stress level. I used to think there was this big conflict at work between “good” and “bad” qualities, either in me or in the organization overall. But the reality is that pretty much anything we’re good at is going to, at some point, be carried a bit too far and become a problem.

So, for instance, I’m personally very focused and I don’t let go of something I believe in very easily. Certainly that quality has contributed positively to what I’ve been able to achieve over the years. But it’s sort of inevitable—following this natural law—that sometimes I’m going to stick with something longer than I should. The same holds true organizationally. One of our strengths here at Zingerman’s is that we’re a very participative workplace. What’s the almost inevitable weakness, then? Sometimes we have so many chances for people to participate that things take longer than they might have otherwise.
Embracing the reality of this law makes life far less stressful: instead of fighting our weaknesses we can actually predict them and then plan ways to manage around, or through, them.

Twelve Natural Laws of Business:
There are organizational principles that consistently work and, in the big scheme of things, follow a natural order. We call these “Natural Laws of Business.” Our experience here is that the natural laws are applicable for any business regardless of size, scale, age or product offering. Exceptions exist, but I’ll say up front I wouldn’t recommend expending much energy trying to prove these rules to be wrong.