Jody Ann Johnson here with the 69th episode of “Coffee with Jody”. Today we’re going to be talking about using the Clifton StrengthsFinder Profile to boost your performance and the performance of your team. We’re going to do is take a look at how you utilize the Strengths, why they matter, the business case for that, and some of the misconceptions or myths that are out there in the world about what people can excel at.
I’ve got a lot to cover with you all in this session. So you may see me reference my notes from time to time. I want to make sure that I give you everything that I intend for you in this particular video.
Strengths-Based Development Strategy starts with focusing on what it is that people do well, then emphasizes and builds on those strengths to create excellence and performance. The Gallup Organization has been studying natural talents and strengths for over 50 years. They found some very interesting correlations between what people do best and the natural talents that they were born with.
A key aspect of their research is to identify what a natural talent is for people and then apply those talents to everyday life. A Strengths based approach is both unique and powerful. When you discover your greatest talents, you’ll discover your greatest opportunities for excellence, for success and for contribution. Why?
Because there’s a strong connection between who people are, what they do best, how they feel, and how they perform. There’s a very popular notion that people can excel at anything if they try hard enough, but every person is unique with a unique set of Strengths. We can and should try to do anything we want to do. Yet long-term success will elude us unless we have a natural talent for that endeavor.
Unfortunately, in our world, there are times when people naturally seemed to be predisposed, to focus on what it is that they don’t do well. That may come from our school systems, focusing on what we’re not doing well, or even from the management styles over the past several decades.
It’s easy to notice how people are different and what they’re not doing well, but the reality is that people’s best bet for success is to focus on what it is that they do well and do more of that.
Then find ways to mitigate those areas where they don’t have natural talents. You might put in a system, have practice or habit, or perhaps even delegate some of those tasks to another person. We want to shift our focus from our shortcomings and the shortcomings on our team, to Strength Building our greatest talents, those ways in which we innately think, feel, and behave, our greatest asset.
This is where we will find our power and our potential, and those of your team, when we tap into this wisdom and this power, we’re more efficient, we act with more confidence, direction, hope, and we’re much more productive.
Employees are unarguably our greatest assets. And it’s a great idea to invest in our employees so that we train and develop them. We already know that they’re a good culture fit because they’re with us, and as we train and develop them, we’re able to capitalize on the asset that they become. And not surprisingly, they will naturally choose initiatives to focus on that are a match for their natural talents, and that actually produces more productivity for your company.
When we nurture, train and retain employees, they become indispensable resources for us. Some of the statistics that make the business case for people, with the talent for distinct jobs, is they have intrinsic ability to do them. And when coached they do them with excellence. When your employees are encouraged to use their Strengths and talents to achieve a goal, individual engagement improves from anywhere between 9% and 15% as does the team’s performance and the company’s business metrics as well.
Gallup studies have shown that between 8% and 18% of performance improvement is available focusing on strengths and a 2% to 10% increase in customer engagement among Strengths-Based Organizations. We’ve also seen that somewhere between 8% and 12% increase to the bottom line. This alone presents the business case for investing in the knowledge of your Strengths and those on your team, as well as creating training and development pathways, to deepen those and apply them to the day in and day out.
The Strengths approach isn’t just a good idea that somebody had, it’s the result of a revolutionary five decades long study of excellence. The culmination of this research gives you a new way to strive for excellence and to discover the opportunities for the greatest contribution you can make and your team members can make.
So let me share a little story with you. Years ago, one of my clients took the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment. And as I debriefed him, he got tears in his eyes. He’s a physician and I asked him “what’s moving you to tears here, what’s going on?” And he said, “You know, all my life, my family told me that I was a loser because I never finished anything”.
I said, look, you have a Strength called Activator. Activator is a launching Strength. It’s a Strength that allows you to get things off the ground. It takes an enormous amount of energy to get something started. And that’s what you love to do. So the moment you’ve launched it, you’re onto the next thing that you’re going to launch. All there is for you to do is to go make sure that you’ve got somebody or something in place that’s going to maintain what it is that you’ve gotten off the ground.
All the while, the family and friends that were telling him that he was a loser because he never finished anything, were applying their beliefs and their way of thinking, feeling and behaving to him, without realizing that was not his natural talent, his natural talent is to launch.
I said, “you know, ask them to try to get something off the ground because they probably won’t be able to do it.” Knowing this alone helped him to put practices and people and structures in place in his business, so that the ideas that he had launched could continue to live after he had moved on to the next thing he was interested in.
This just gives you a simple example of the importance of knowing ones Strengths. Clifton’s Strengths Assessment will give you your top five in one of the profiles and all 34 of the themes in another one if you invest a little more.
It’s useful to know these, not just top five, but also what are the ones that are on the lower end. Because I can tell you for me, the ones that are the lowest are for me are harmony and discipline. These are things I have to have a structure for, I have to have a habit, I have to have a practice in order to be able to bring those themes forth. They’re not natural ways of thinking, behaving and feeling from me.
But at the top of my strengths I have Strategic, Maximizer and Connectedness Strengths that allow me to problem solve, and drive me to excellence, and that allow me to see connections between people and ideas, and connect all the dots.
I highly encourage you to invest in learning about your own Strengths and the Strengths of those around you, so that you can not only enhance your personal engagement and quality of life, but the quality of life and the engagement of those around you.
Below is a link to a white paper that explains all of the different profiles and how each one of them provides a different set of information and value. As you go through both your recruitment, your retention, and the training and development pathways that have people stay with you long-term you and your team become that asset long term.
You can click on the link below to download that white paper.
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