It’s easy to see how an individual can be proactive about utilizing their strengths. When we work in areas where we have natural strengths we feel more productive and engaged with our work and are less likely to want to leave our jobs. But how do we take the next step and integrate strengths into the workplace?
At a recent meeting of the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers, three corporate leaders – from Stryker, Genentech, and Celgene – discussed the nuts and bolts of how they built a strengths-based culture within their companies. Here are their tips for making strengths stick:
- Begin with leaders. Ask for their support, and offer them training and 1-on-1 coaching around strengths.
- Take your time and roll out the program slowly.
- Maintain leadership buy-in by measuring results via engagement scores, turnover ratios, productivity measures, or other means.
- Ask leaders to demonstrate their support by participating in meetings and incorporating strengths into their communications.
- Pick an assessment that is supported by available training materials and coaching guides. Select a vendor with the capability of accrediting individuals within your organization and, if needed, supplementing your internal team with facilitators and coaches.
- Avoid the “one-hit-wonder” syndrome by planning ahead to incorporate strengths-based training and coaching at all levels of your department or organization. Keep it fresh by starting each meeting with a strengths exercise.
- Identify champions on each team that can help build momentum.
- Communicate that adopting a strengths based approach is not an excuse for competency lapses. Develop strategies for addressing limiting weaknesses.
- Build strengths into the professional development process. Provide strengths based feedback at performance reviews.
- Use strengths based team development to improve communication and cooperation between team members.
The audience takeaway was that while it clearly takes time and energy to build a strengths based culture, the payoff of a more engaging workplace is definitely worth the investment.