"We've been talking about playing to people's strengths for the last 15 years. It's still a radical idea in many industries (such as accountancy). Some managers like to set people up for a fall so that they can ritually humiliate them in public. I don't get it, but that's what happens.
I imagine that, as a result of the recession, managers are feeling under pressure and reverting to their bad old ways.
So, why would organisations invest time, energy and reputation in the strengths deal, and how does the Foundation help?"
The Strengths Approach Today
If you take the view that people are not an organisation’s biggest asset, they are its only asset, then getting those people to perform to maximum effect over a long period of time is the key to driving that organisation forward. This is more apparent in the ‘newer’ industries (Digital Marketing, Social Media and some Ecommerce Houses) and they tend to have less management baggage to deal with.
Organisations often start down the strengths route by defining what they are actually good at - by asking questions such as:
• When do were deliver As, rather than Bs or Cs?
Looking back, when have we (as an organisation) performed brilliantly? What did we do right then? How can we follow these principles in the future?
Who are our perfect customers?
Who are the kinds of customers with whom we work best? What are the challenges they face?
• How can we use our strengths to help these customers to achieve success?
Having defined their strengths, great organisations translate them into a clear story, strategy and road to success. Everybody in the organisation knows:
The ‘What’ – the picture of success.
The ‘Why- the benefits of achieving the goals.
The ‘How’ – the key strategies for achieving success.
The ‘Who’ – the different roles people will play in reaching the goals.
The ‘When’ – the specific things that will be happening and when on the road to achieving the picture of success.
Great organisations make sure the story resonates with their people. They do this by building on when people have performed brilliantly. They are then asking people to follow these principles and shape a positive future. They are asking them to develop, rather than change.
The organisations that are taking this path are shaping a successful future. Others have gone back to their old ways. But they are suffering.
The Strengths Foundation’s Work
What does the Foundation actually do? Let’s start by looking at the big picture. There are many ways to encourage people to achieve peak performance.
The Foundation aims to share the strengths approach. It provides a stimulating resource that people, teams and organisations can use:
• To build on their strengths
• To set specific goals
• To achieve their picture of success
The Strengths Foundation is ‘agnostic’ inasmuch that it acts as a global portal that people can visit to get an overview of the many approaches to strengths.
Some Background To The Approach
The strengths approach is based on studying success. It studies and shares what works. It studies when people, teams and organisations perform brilliantly. It translates these into positive models and practical tools. People can then use the tools to follow the principles in their own ways.
The approach is also based on several other key principles. These are:
• People have tremendous strengths
Every person, team and organisation has strengths. They also have a successful style of working. People can learn from the times when they have performed brilliantly, overcome setbacks or found creative solutions to challenges. They can build on where they deliver As and manage the consequences of their Bs and Cs.
• People can take responsibility for shaping their futures
People make choices. Each choice has consequences, with both pluses and minuses. People can choose their attitude. Attitude plus ability equals achievement. People can aim to be positive, professional and peak performers. They can take responsibility for shaping a successful future. They can encourage, educate and enable other people to succeed. They can pass on their knowledge and give hope to future generations.
• People, teams and organisations can build on their strengths and achieve their picture of success.
People can perform superb work. They can build on their strengths and employ their inner strength. People are ingenious. They can find creative solutions to challenges. They can do this by continually focusing on clarity, creativity and concrete results. They can always do the basics and then add the brilliance. They can create magic by adding that touch of class. People can achieve and maintain peak performance.
The Strengths Foundation Site – How to use it
The site is packed with information. But here are some suggestions.
• If you want to know about Success Stories and how strengths have been used in action
Take a look at the article and video clips about ISpy Marketing. They combined the super teams and strengths approach. Then they used strengths as the basis for clarifying and living their values.
• If you want to have practical tips you can use in your work
Go to The Strengths Blog. A new piece is put on their every day.
If you want to learn about the history of the strengths movement, from the 1800s to the present day.
Go to the section on The Strengths Philosophers. You can find this at:
If you want to know more about other people who are interested in strengths.
Take a look at The Linked In Discussion group for The Strengths Foundation. You can find it – and join if you wish – at:
If you want to know how to build super teams or to clarify your own strengths.
Drop a line to Mike Pegg and he will send you The Super Teams Pack and The Strengths Pack. He can be reached at:
He will also answer any other questions you have about strengths.