Want to build a stronger team? Start by exploring their strengths. Long before Strengths trends became popular Peter Drucker had this to say in a chapter on Managing Oneself;
“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong.
People know what they are not good at more often-and even there people are more often wrong than right.
And yet, one can only perform with one’s strengths.
One cannot build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something one cannot do at all.”
The process, from his perspective, would typically take two to three years of documentation and introspection. Just following his system of documenting and analyzing prediction errors would be invaluable but I find most people unwilling to spend a few days much less years. What I have found to be tremendously effective are the numerous strengths analysis tools. Strengths Finder now offers online and mobile versions which include regular reminders to help the process continuously evolve.
A short 30 minute survey is completed prior to the retreat providing each participant a 15 page analysis highlighting the individual’s top 5 strengths. The real power of this process is when members team up to teach each other how they can be more productive and more engaged. We then use the challenge of assembling and programming the robots to observe our strengths in action.
Now for the caveat. The books, tests and tools are just the beginning. If you quit there you have missed 80%. The purpose of this process is not to check it off your to-do list and move on to something really important. This is REALLY IMPORTANT. Consider this fact. People who use their strengths at work are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times happier in general. Additionally Gallup reports that engagement at work is an inverse predictor of employee turnover.
Now it is time to get your calculator out. Let’s take the Best Buy calculation .1% engagement increase = $100,000 increase in annual revenue plus an average 5% turnover times 50K annual salary and a 50% cost to replace= well you get the picture. THE COST OF DOING NOTHING IS ENORMOUS. Understanding these metrics has become so important for Best Buy that they have increased their survey process from once per year to once quarterly.