A few weeks ago, I wrote up my thoughts about fatal flaws. I sought some thoughts from people who are wiser than me and I want to pass on their thoughts.
What I would add is that in my experience the ability of an individual to figure this out about themselves at an early age is one of the key determinants of success and happiness. Not just at work but in life....Here is how I sum it up for folks in college:
1. Work hard to find what you are good at and what you like as you move from high school to roughly your early 30's.
2. So the question of "do I work on a strength or a weakness" might more productively be framed as "of all the strengths you might build on or weaknesses you might attempt to improve, which one or two have the highest probability of significantly advancing your ability to contribute to the organization?" It's a risk-adjusted return concept - some things might have high value, but may be highly unlikely I can achieve the improvement... So I have to pick those things that, after considering probability of success, effort / cost to improve vs. value to the org, have the greatest return.
3. A moments reflection will validate the GENERAL rule that it's a lot more valuable to build on your strengths than to shore up your weaknesses (e.g. it's why we spend so much time proving out capabilities analysis as part of our vision development processes!!).
4. From time to time we all discover character or performance traits that are so sub-par relative to our environments as to present a great risk to our ability to adapt enough to survive. Arrogance, fear of change, taking on a role we are not ready for, being in a role where the needs or comparative advantages have significantly shifted.... in such things, if we can't get to "par" -- good enough, or adequate -- in that dimension, then we will not have the opportunity to "flex" our strengths and really contribute. Sometimes it is as easy as changing your RREs - or moving to a different role. Sometimes it's more difficult - addressing a character flaw that up until now has been bearable, but not longer, by your team, customers, whatever.