When it comes to confidence or talent, some people are luckier than others and the old adage, “hard work pays off” isn’t always true. When you’re in a competitive field it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, and if you have any obvious disadvantages you might find yourself a complete outsider.
The question is how do you gain an advantage?
Charisma and biases play into every decision that’s made, and that’s where you need an edge. Laura Huang, a professor at Harvard Business School has written about this exact issue. Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage is a how-to guide on cultivating your strengths and weaknesses as a way to make yourself distinctive. In a field like sales, this is a must-have for your arsenal.
At this point the book is forthcoming and hasn’t been released yet, but I think it’s worth adding to your reading list. Curious about turning a disadvantage of yours on its head? You can check out some of Huang’s teachings, visit her website and take this quiz before committing to a pre-order.
Here is the summary on Amazon:
“Laura Huang, a preeminent Harvard Business School professor, shows that success is about gaining an edge: that elusive quality that gives you an upper hand and attracts attention and support. Some people seem to naturally have it. Now, Huang teaches the rest of us how to create our own from the challenges and biases we think hold us back, and turning them to work in our favor.
“How do you find a competitive edge when the obstacles feel insurmountable? How do you get people to take you seriously when they're predisposed not to, and perhaps have already written you off?
“Laura Huang has come up against that problem many times--and so has anyone who's ever felt out of place or underestimated. Many of us sit back quietly, hoping that our hard work and effort will speak for itself. Or we try to force ourselves into the mold of who we think is "successful," stifling the creativity and charm that makes us unique and memorable.
“In Edge, Huang offers a different approach. She argues that success is rarely just about the quality of our ideas, credentials, and skills, or our effort. Instead, achieving success hinges on how well we shape others' perceptions—of our strengths, certainly, but also our flaws. It's about creating our own edge by confronting the factors that seem like shortcomings and turning them into assets that make others take notice.
“Huang draws from her award-winning research on entrepreneurial intuition, persuasion, and implicit decision-making, to impart her profound findings and share stories of previously-overlooked Olympians, assistants-turned-executives, and flailing companies that made momentous turnarounds. Through her deeply researched framework, Huang shows how we can turn weaknesses into strengths and create an edge in any situation. She explains how an entrepreneur scored a massive investment despite initially being disparaged for his foreign accent, and how a first-time political candidate overcame voters' doubts about his physical disabilities.
“Edge shows that success is about knowing who you are and using that knowledge unapologetically and strategically. This book will teach you how to find your unique edge and keep it sharp.”