Friday, December 25, 2009

Leading the Way: What are your "Strengths?"

Driving Employee Engagement and Organizational Performance

Success in business. This builds on my post: 10 "traits to success." Let me now ask: "Do you know your strengths?"

The Gallup Organization has done extensive research on "strengths."

It says to stop focusing on trying to "fix" what people are not "wired" to be. Now, that should get your attention.

That goes against all those years of performance appraisals -- yes, the HR requirement -- where managers and employees meet to agree on weaknesses (areas of development) and document an action plan for growth.

Gallup's findings show that leaders should not waste time trying to "put" in what people don't have, but, instead, spend time learning people's strengths and talents and how to grow them. This is superb research. Gallup has access to data!

But how do you select the talent you, your team, your organization needs - the right talent for the culture, structure, strategies and skills of your firm? This book should be bought for everyone in your organization. If someone asked you what your strengths are and how you know, could you respond crisply and with authority?

Great organizations and their leaders know that talent is a differentiating characteristic of successful, notable and profitable business enterprises.

Books listed here can be read in a week. Most importantly, when you and your senior leadership team have read them, buy copies for all your leaders and set aside a series of off-site "academies." Make dedicated time for the entire team not only to talk about the learning, but also be involved in real-world activities. Allow them opportunities to experience the learning. This goes beyond "team building." Bring in some world-class facilitators to help. Then, develop a culture to continue the learning on-site, so it is not a one-time, flavor-of-the-month event.

Your public affairs, public and investor relations and marketing communications departments need your growing the next generation of leaders.

Make it a distinguishing feature of your firm. Your Stakeholders will thank you for it.

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