The Common Language
One of the greatest benefits StrengthsFinder gives you is an opportunity to create a “common language” within the workplace. Recognize that each of your employees are bringing their own perspectives into the company, and their own way of looking at things. By focusing on embracing and accepting the 34 Signature Themes and their neutral descriptions, you have an opportunity to get everybody on the same page.
Here are five ways you can develop this common language within your organization:
1. Know the Signature Themes
Take the time to learn at least the Top 5 Signature Themes of each person. This is where you have the best chance of growing talents into Strengths. The Signature Themes are the starting point — this is where Strengths are found. These talents are also where someone’s greatest weaknesses are found. Knowing both can help you make sure each person is in the right position to increase their chances of success.
2. Practice Acceptance and Understanding
By embracing this common language, you can now use specific words to identify positive behaviors, thoughts and feelings that everyone can understand. In this way, you create the ability to suspend judgment when employees have different approaches and you increase awareness and acceptance. You can also learn to identify what people need according to their talents and set about to help get those needs met. Soon, you can expect to see more camaraderie and collaboration as employees learn to tap into what they do well, and what others do well, instead of complaining about others’ weaknesses.
3. Increase the Conversation
If you’re going to develop a common language among your people, you need to start speaking the language. Find ways to increase the conversation. At staff meetings, spend a few minutes discussing ways that the talents are showing up in the office or on your team. Work at “catching” people living in their Strengths. Point out to them when you see their talents in action. Discover how they use their Strengths outside of the workplace. Post talent theme cards on their office doors so that their Top 5 talents rise to top of mind awareness. Do team-building exercises and watch how employees automatically behave in a manner in which their natural talents are strongest.
4. Customize Training Methods
Find ways to develop skills and your company’s product training in alignment with employee’s Strengths. Because StrengthsFinder talents can be categorized in four basic groups, you can customize trainings to meet the needs of each. Those employees who are dominant in the DO-ER quadrant need actionable application items. If they are more powerful in the PROMOTER quadrant, make sure they understand how they can influence people with their new found knowledge. THINKERS need time to process and think before implementing and NURTURERS need to know what’s in it for the people they serve.
This “common language” approach to training can ensure that learning objectives are met in your organizational development.
5. Set Goals Focused on Strengths
Using the common language of StrengthsFinder, you now have an amazing opportunity to set goals according to how someone is naturally talented. If one of your teammates has Communication, Competition and other Promoter talents in their Top Signature Themes, making sure there is a prize to motivate them will be more effective than just handing them their goals. In addition, this person may not be inspired by writing down their goals and reviewing them. Instead, they may gain enthusiasm if they can talk about them, share stories about how they will approach the objective. An employee with Achiever and Discipline, on the other hand, may prefer a check list and time to get everything in order first. Each approach can be honored as correct for them, while still aiming for corporate expectations.
Integrating these five things into your organization can help you create that common language that will ultimately provide a common ground upon which to build team, allow diversity and release the best in your people.
To learn more about StrengthsFinder, visit www.GallupStrengthsCenter.com.
Rhonda Knight Boyle is the founder of several networking and personal growth enterprises including Women in the Know, Connect & Serve, and Activate Your Strengths. She is also co-owner of StrengthsAssociates, a consulting company using StrengthsFinder 2.0 methodology to foster personal development and professional growth. She can be heard on the OklahomaTalkingCo podcast network and is the host of the Activate Your Strengths Show. You can reach Rhonda at Rhonda@ActivateYourStrengths.com, or follow them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ActivateYourStrengths. They can also be found under the Twitter handle of ActivateStrong.