Stronger Together

A chart with a mosaic of colored boxes hangs in plain sight for easy reference. These colors coincide with 13 names, one for every full-time employee working at Trademark and every name has 5 colored boxes scattered across the graph indicating their top 5 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 Strengths Finder and the test that comes along with it. Developed by Donald O. Clifton, Tom Rath and Gallup Scientists, their research and philosophy points towards how utilizing and recognizing 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.

In the first few pages of the book they share a study which shows that if a manager primarily ignores their employees then the chances of those employees being actively disengaged are as high as 40%. If they focus on your weaknesses, the chances of being actively disengaged are 22%. If a manager focuses on employee’s strengths however, their chances of being actively disengaged drop to 1% (Rath, Tom. Strengths Finder 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.

At Trademark, every employee takes the Strengths Finder 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 those strengths. It also points out the kinds of people you would do well to be paired with and discussed how partnering with the right person can compliment your strengths, allowing you both to tackle a project efficiently.

We add each of our strengths to a chart with open access to the entire office. Not only do we have a print out of it hanging over the printer, but we have a digital file that is shared with everyone on our company google drive. This helps us have easy reference to someone else’s strengths.

We have Strength builder’s exercises regularly which help remind us the different assets we bring to the team and how to utilize those assets. These exercises give us a chance to celebrate everyone’s unique abilities and to connect with each other on a personal level. They are lighthearted and sometimes competitive.

This tool helps us delegate tasks properly but also understand where miscommunication could be occurring. By being conscious of both of these things, 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. 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, which are important tools for us to use if we are going to continue to succeed. To truly succeed. We don't want to simply succeed in the sense of finishing a project, but to succeed in every sense of the word; by building each other up, strengthening our bonds and abilities, and completing works of art we can be proud of. Realizing we are stronger together than we would ever be alone.