This is a really interesting question. When you ask a group of employees they often will say developing weaknesses is important. When I ask this question of employers or business owners the answer is almost always develop your strengths.
One of my favorite books is Now Develop Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton. This book answers the question why it’s important to develop your strengths and learn how to manage your weaknesses. It’s a book I highly recommend.
Dan Sullivan from the Strategic Coach talks about working within your unique ability. He believes and I agree that only working in areas that you have unique abilities makes sense. Find people who are good at what you’re not and have them join your team.
It’s these complementary teams that make great companies. If everyone is working within their own unique abilities you can have a company that performs at a very high level. All team members are doing what they enjoy and generally the company is more efficient than companies that concentrate on improving weaknesses.
Working within your unique ability is energizing. I find that when I work within my unique ability I never get tired and time flies by. This is because I have lots of energy units for what I’m doing. When I have to go outside my unique ability I might have developed some skills, but it takes a great deal of effort for me to complete any task. That’s because I have limited energy units and I use them quickly.
I often recommend that people use the Kolbe Index to help them understand how much energy they have for different activities. If you’re trying to do something where you have little energy you might feel burned out. If that’s true don’t try to get better, but instead find someone who has energy and excitement for activities you dislike.
If you want to be a star concentrate on strengths. Stars don’t want to be mediocre; they want to be world class. Becoming world class takes hard work, perseverance, and time. You just aren’t going to make it if you’re also fighting a lack of energy for the activities that are needed for success.
Have you thought about whether strengths or weaknesses are more important for you? It’s one of the keys of successful business models.