Recently, Coca-Cola jumped in the obesity debate about beverages’ role in this health crisis. Coca-Cola aired two ads addressing the issue head on. Some people were shocked. Why in the world would a soft drink company admit that high calorie drinks can cause obesity when they offer high calorie products?
Coca-Cola is using a public relations technique that can easily be applied to personal branding. They’re publicly admitting their weaknesses, and providing examples of how they are working on those weaknesses (providing low calorie options like Coke Zero, etc.).
Basically, Coca-Cola has just answered the dreaded interview question, “What are your biggest weaknesses?” and done so with flying colors. When asked this question, it’s easy to get caught up in making a cliché comment about being too much of a perfectionist or caring too much. While these can be good to bring up if they are your biggest weaknesses, it is okay to identify something that is an actual weakness. The most important note to remember is that the weakness you share shouldn’t inherently hinder your ability to perform the job duties like applying for a programming position and saying that you’re terrible at coding – and that while you identify this weakness you also provide examples of how you are working to overcome it.
If you’re stumped on how to work on overcoming weaknesses, here are some steps to owning up to them, Coca-Cola Style.
- Sit down and make a list of your weakest areas. “I’m too much of a perfectionist,” may win you brownie points in an interview, but it probably won’t help you develop your professional skills. Your eyes are the only ones that need to see this list, so be honest.
- Choose the most feasible weakness to work on and provide three actions that you can implement daily to fix it.
- Keep your list at home, reflect each day, and write what you did that day to overcome or address that weakness.
- Go public—but not with a press release. This step will actually take care of itself. Once you start working on these weaknesses daily and keep yourself aware of what you need to tackle, your co-workers and boss will be able to tell a difference in your performance. If you don’t already have a job, your personal progress is a great interview point to discuss.
It’s important to recognize your real weaknesses and to show effort in correcting or improving those areas. Coca-Cola finally owned up to its biggest weakness. Are you up for the challenge?