A chart featuring a mosaic of colored boxes hangs in plain sight for easy reference. These colors coincide with the names of each person who works at Trademark and every name has five colored boxes, scattered across the graph indicating their top five strengths.
This graph isn’t created on a whim or mere observation. We are able to pinpoint each employee’s strengths due to the book StrengthsFinder and the test that accompanies it. Developed by Donald O. Clifton, Tom Rath and Gallup Scientists, their research and philosophy centers around the concept that understanding and utilizing your strengths can help you be a better leader. Similarly, it can help you understand those you work with, why they work the way they do and how to compliment each other’s strengths.
A study highlighted in the first few pages of the book shows that if a manager primarily ignores their employees then the chance of those employees being actively disengaged are as high as 40%. If they focus on the weaknesses of said employee, the chances of being actively disengaged are 22%. If a manager focuses on employee strengths, their chances of disengagement drop to 1%. (Rath, Tom. StrengthsFinder 2.0. New York: Gallup Press, 2007. Print)
This shows that when strengths are being cultivated, people are more likely to succeed. This model then, is an asset to the modern business structure , creating long-term employees that are invested in their work.
How we use it
At Trademark, every employee takes the StrengthsFinder test and reads the book to further understand and develop their strengths. Each strength has its own chapter that explains how these strengths might manifest and how best to utilize them. It also points out the kinds of people you work the best with and how these combined strengths compliment each other, allowing both parties to work more efficiently.
As a result of this philosophy, everyone has open access to our Strengths Chart which helps us easily reference someone else’s strengths. We also have light-hearted, sometimes competitive Strength builder’s exercises to help remind us of the different assets each person brings to the team and how to utilize those assets. This gives us a chance to celebrate everyone’s unique abilities and connect with each other on a personal level.
Why we believe in it
This tool helps us delegate tasks properly but also clarifies where miscommunication may occur. By being conscious of each other’s strengths, we can approach each other with understanding and respect.
Rather than waste energy on where we as individuals are lacking, we are able to utilize each other’s strengths and work together in a manner reminiscent of a relay race. Realizing we are stronger together than we would ever be alone.
This type of structure resonates with Trademark’s philosophy. We want our employees to feel empowered to lead each other and build each other up. It encourages open communication and collaborative work. With a company as buy and past-paced as it normally is, these are important tools for us to us in order for us to succeed.