Category Archives: Strengths

What percent of employees strongly agree that their manager knows what projects they’re working on?

What percent of employees strongly agree that their manager knows what projects they’re working on? 34%. Only a third.  It’s 9 AM. Do you know where your people are? What are they working on? Learn more: Strong Management – Strengths based training for managers to help their people be at their best. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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What percent of employees received feedback from their manager “a few times or less” last year?

What percent of employees received feedback from their manager “a few times or less” last year? 47%. That’s almost half.  If you’re a manager and you want to get more engagement from the people you manage, you need to up your game. Give more feedback, more often, and more quality feedback – millennials and Gen Z especially. Learn more: Strong Management – Strengths based training for managers to help their people be at their best. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Three things a manager needs to coach

Three things a manager needs to coach: Establish expectationsContinually coachCreate accountability Establish expectations According to Gallup, employees whose manager involves them in setting goals is four times more likely to be engaged. But only 30% of employees ever get this opportunity. Continually coach Employees are three times more likely to be engaged if they get daily feedback than annual feedback. Create accountability Metrics are needed. Learn more: Strong Management – Strengths based training for managers to help their people be at their best. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Five steps to building a strengths-based culture

According to Gallup, there are five steps to building a strengths-based culture.  Start with the CEO or it doesn’t work.Require every employee to discover their strengths.Build an internal network of strengths coaches.Integrate strengths into performance management.Transform your learning programs. Here are some notes on each of these. Start with the CEO or it doesn’t work. People watch what their leaders do and say. And there’s a finely honed BS detector. In team building sessions if I see the leader isn’t engaged and involved, I know the team is going to struggle – during the activity and beyond. Require every employee to discover their strengths. Using StrengthsFinder or MBTI gives everyone on a team a common language to talk about unique abilities. Build an internal network of strengths coaches. Who are your strengths champions in the organization? How can they coach your high potentials? Integrate strengths into performance management. Mangers need to know their own strengths and use them. Then they need to know their people’s strengths and unlock them. Transform your learning programs. Get rid of any learning programs that don’t focus on strengths. Strengths are your rocket fuel. Learn more: Strong Management –  Strengths based training for managers to help their people be at their best. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Six changes Millennials and Generation Z want

Millennials (born 1980-1996) and Gen Z (born after 1996) want something new from work. According to Gallup, here are six ‘wants’ that are different. Past (workers used to want this)FutureMy paycheck My purposeMy satisfactionMy developmentMy bossMy coachMy annual reviewMy ongoing conversationsMy weaknessesMy strengthsMy jobMy life What does this mean? A paycheck is no longer enough. There needs to be meaning to the work. Who and how is this helping?Beer kegs and ping pong tables don’t get workers excited anymore. Their growth is what they care about.Less hierarchy, more help.Feedback once a year is useless. Short ongoing feedback, especially digitally, instead.Strengths develop infinitely. Focus on strengths.“Does this organization care about who I am, what I do well? Can I do what I do best every day? If not, I’m gone.” Learn more: Generations Collaborate – Learn about the different generations that make up your workforce and team. Set the stage for true collaboration on your team by finding out what makes each generation unique, how they prefer to communicate, get work done, their triggers for excellent performance, and their triggers for conflict. (data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 

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Da Vinci on building a team with strengths and weaknesses

“An arch consists of two weaknesses which, leaning one against the other, make a strength.” — Leonardo da Vinci The ideal team recognizes that each person has peaks and valleys, highs and lows, strengths and weaknesses.  Taken individually, a person might try to fix those weaknesses, obsess over them, or hide them. Our brains are wired to look for flaws. It’s old survival behavior. The new way individually is to stop obsessing over weaknesses and focus on strengths more.  And the best way to build a team is to look at that team as three-dimensional. There are peaks and valleys based on individual strengths. And interestingly, those peaks and valleys overlap and cancel each other out. One person might be horrible at follow-up, another one is brilliant at it. One person might excel at winning suspicious people over, another person might consider that a worst nightmare scenario.  The ideal team forms a series of Da Vinci’s arches. People with a weakness in an area lean on other people on the team that have that strength – whether to shift work responsibility, energy support or tactical suggestions. These pairings take away the weakness from the team. The vulnerability shown and interdependence explored with those mini-collaborations is what the team trust is built on – arches.

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What’s better than producing?

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi   I wrote recently that if you want to produce, stop consuming as much – information, news, Facebook, stuff, drama. Even better than producing? Simply…being. Just simple enjoyment of this moment. Awake. Alive. At ease. Engaged in NOW. Here’s our order of priority: Fully alive Producing Consuming Where are you giving your time and your attention? Where do you want to instead? What needs to change?   “If you have time to chatter, Read books.   If you have time to read, Walk into mountain, desert and ocean.   If you have time to walk, Sing songs and dance.   If you have time to dance, Sit quietly, you happy, lucky idiot.” – Nanao Sakaki

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Is your world changing? Use your strengths

I walked over the bridge and looked out on the river. The water was low and flowing fast. The tree leaves on the riverbank had been green just a week ago. Now they were orange and gold. I climbed onto the rocks, put on my wet suit, took a deep breath and jumped in. Involuntary gasp as the shock of the cold hit me. I swam upstream, trying to get used to it, thrilled and miserable in the same moment. My body adjusted eventually and the misery melted away, leaving just a weird delight. The original change guru Heraclitus (born in 535 BC) essentially stated that you can’t step in the same river twice. Apparently you can’t even swim in the same river twice! It’s always changing. A few short weeks ago that water was lazily warm. And the demands of work are always changing. Just like the cold water of the river those demands are getting harder to handle, not easier. In a cold, changing world, use your strengths. They are a refuge that will never change and are always there for you. You were born with them. Your passion (strength + what you love) is as unique to you as your fingerprints and your signature. Then help your people use their strengths. If your team is faced with changing, increasing demands, as always I’m here to help you find and use your changeless strengths to do your best work together.

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The strengths Interview four-step process from ‘First, Break All the Rules’

Here’s ‘The Art of Interviewing for Talent’ four-step process from First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Make sure the talent interview stands alone. The purpose is to see if the candidate’s recurring patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior match the job. Ask a few open-ended questions and then keep quiet. Let him reveal himself by the choices he makes. What does he enjoy most about selling? How closely does he think people should be supervised? Listen for specifics. Ask him to tell you about the time when he closed a major deal. If the behavior is recurring, he can answer specifically off the top of his head. Clues to talent. There may be an inclination towards certain activities. Two things to notice: – Rapid learning. Does she take to public speaking like a born leader? – Satisfaction. Does he get his kicks from balancing the balance sheet? Know what to listen for. “I love it when…” Take note of what the employee says and after hiring, return to see if that person performed consistently with their original statements. Learn more: StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action.

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The three best ways to use the StrengthsFinder assessment for hiring

Q: If I were recruiting for sales, could I use StrengthsFinder as a source to be sure a possible candidate would be a good fit? A: Yes. I do recommend using the StrengthsFinder strengths as part of the hiring process. Here’s how: 1. First in the job description Pick the strengths you’d like to add to the team. Look at the definitions of them and pick descriptive parts of the strength that are ideal. Don’t use the StrengthsFinder words; use the words in the description. For example, if you want WOO, don’t use that word. Use ‘loves the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over.’ People have no idea what the word ‘woo’ means in the StrengthsFinder context. 2. Second in the interview Don’t trust the planned. Trust the spontaneous. The strengths part of recruiting and hiring is best done in the interview when you can see how they spontaneously answer questions. Imagine taking an assessment trying to second-guess what you imagine a potential employer is looking for and tweaking your answers so you get the results you hope. However, in the interview process, you can see what the poet Alan Ginsburg called, ‘first thought best thought’ come into play. If you’re looking for someone with WOO ask them for an example of when they were able to win a skeptical person or a group over even though they didn’t know them. If you’re looking for someone with RELATOR to develop deep-ties to select long-standing clients, ask them for an example of them doing just that. They will either have an example easily come to mind that is vivid, specific and true. Or they’ll fumble and genericize. Either way you’ll get your answer. 3. Once the person is hired Have them take the StrengthsFinder assessment once they’ve been hired, making sure you tell them so you can best help them be their best sales self. They’ll self-assess more honestly now that a job isn’t on the line. Then have a discussion with them about how they can best use their top 5 strengths in the sales role they were hired for.

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