Taking a Strengths-based approach

Posted by Simon Clark

May 22, 2018

There was something missing from our internal employee review process….it was a bit wooden and we paid it lip service.  We have had the benefit of working behind the scenes with hundreds of companies whose Human Resources functions have invested significant sums in their annual review and engagement systems.  Reflecting on all these we discovered that we have not seen any companies that are outstanding in this area…. or delivered lasting benefit for the people or cultural change and success for the business.  So, we decided to look a bit deeper….

“Talking about strengths creates opportunities for us to enjoy what is right, rather than dwell on what is wrong.”

Research was telling us…

  • Leaders are not highly attuned to seeing their weaknesses but are equally unaware of their strengths – probably because strengths are often behaviours that come more naturally and were acquired without deliberate effort·
  • Managers who focus on people’s strengths experience improved team performance and greater success
  • People who learn to use their strengths every day have 7.8% greater productivity·
  • Teams who receive strengths feedback have 8.9% greater profitability

So, we decided to focus on Strengths and make that the basis for all our interactions as a team and to discover what individuals’ strengths are – which has resulted in the development of processes for measuring, reviewing and feeding back.

“It encourages people to think in terms of strengths rather than weaknesses, to concentrate on capacities rather than shortcomings, to focus on abilities rather than inabilities.”  

First…With the help of a specialist consultant we studied positive psychology and from that we chose an on-line strengths assessment tool which collates 34 strengths into four themes – Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, Strategic Thinking

Next…All the BarrettClark team has gone through this process, they all know their top strengths, and this has provided us with acompany matrix.

What are we doing with this…We look through a strengths lens. We deploy our people into projects that they are best at. They use positive psychology and focus on their strengths in the services they provide to clients. Monthly one to one’s and the annual review focus on strengths and how they have been explicitly used to achieve high performance. We are embedding a strengths-based approach to our candidate reporting process.  While reporting on competencies we can also provide information on how candidates operate at their best and the enablers that help them to achieve high performance.

Businesses and people change every day.  Positive psychology and a strengths-based approach are differentiators. If any of this sounds interesting, then please don’t hesitate to ask me – I am very happy to share this experience.

People who focus on their strengths

  • Are happier
  • Experience less stress
  • Feel healthier and have more energy
  • Feel more satisfied with their lives
  • Are more confident
  • Experience faster growth and development Are more creative and agile at work
  • Are more engaged in their work
  • Feel more satisfied and experience more meaning in their work

“Choice is the only tool we have that enables us to go from who we are today to who we want to be tomorrow”