I was attacked by a wasp the other day. My lovely walk in the country was suddenly interrupted by a severe burning pain in my arm – the little beggar having sunk his stinger into me with no provocation whatsoever. 

On my way home, accompanied by what felt like a hundred pixies stabbing my arm with tiny sharp daggers, I pondered on the purpose of a wasp. Wondering if their role in life was simply to cause pain, annoyance and allergic reactions. Why do they exist?

So the next day, faced with some serious work to do… I googled ‘What purpose do wasps serve?’ and was amazed to discover that they actually do serve some purpose as pollinators, though not as efficient as their cousin, the bee. 

To be honest, it kind of ruined the blog I was going to write about the wasps in your business that serve no purpose:

  • the extra hoops that you make a customer jump through
  • the products that have never sold that you won’t let go of
  • the team member who has struggled since day one.

But now I know that the pesky wasp actually does some good, it got me thinking that perhaps we shouldn’t rush to judgement, or take things, particularly people, at face value. 

Maybe that person you think has struggled since day one, just hasn’t been trained properly, or maybe they would blossom in a different role, or maybe they’ve been doing something quietly, behind the scenes, adding value to your business and just not making a song and dance about it.

Perhaps this person will never be a bee but they make a very effective wasp!

Have you ever employed anyone like this; someone who you doubted who turned out to be a revelation for all the right reasons? (Think of Richard Branson at school and where he is now.)

Do one thing: Think about your people and for each of them write down what you believe their main strength to be: then ask them what they think. Finally ask yourself, am I playing to and challenging their strengths?(Okay; that’s three things…but do it anyway.)