If you’ve ever worked with a group of people, you know that each person brings a unique set of talents (and flaws) to the table … and that’s a good thing! Once you identify who’s good at what, the team is more likely to produce its best work, and just as important, individuals are more likely to be happy and more productive.

The renowned performance-management company Gallup — the same Gallup that conducts the opinion polls often quoted in the news — studied what makes the most engaged, productive, and profitable individuals and teams. They found the answer: strengths. The strengths philosophy —explained in CliftonStrengths assessment — teaches the concept of identifying and applying what’s right about people. Through 40 years of research and millions of interviews, Gallup has discovered that people who know and consciously use their strengths are:

  • 6X as likely to be engaged at work
  • 8% more productive in their roles
  • 3X as likely to have an excellent quality of life
  • 6X as likely to do what they do best every day

There’s Only One You
Every employee at Intouch is given Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment when they start. The assessment identifies a person’s top five talent themes — those patterns of thought, feeling and behavior that are “hardwired” in. Even cooler: the analysis combines each person’s top five themes into a totally customized report. And there’s a lot of customization.

The odds of another person having the same top five themes in the same order is 1 in 33 million!

To bolster what new employees learn from the assessment, each new Intoucher also gets an online version of the book StrengthsFinders 2.0 and for those teams who want to go a step further, there’s training.

Putting the Pieces Together
Recently, our own HR and Learning & Development teams began a four-part training series that would help them re-visit their own strengths and learn the strengths of their colleagues. Sessions break down as follows:

  • By the end of the first session, each participant will understand each of their themes and see how those themes show up in their life. Participants are then encouraged to consciously apply those themes to a challenge they have in the coming weeks.
  • Imagine what teams can accomplish if we all formed partnerships with each other — consciously using our strengths at work and leaning on our teammates to help where we aren’t as strong. In session two, participants are asked to notice and celebrate the strengths of their teammates, and to accept that “you do some things better than me, and I do some things better than you.”
  • In session three, we look at the team’s collective strengths. Where does that team excel and where might it struggle? And most importantly, how can the team use its collective strengths to compensate for its collective weaknesses or non-strengths?
  • In session four, we bring it all together, brainstorming how we can apply individual and collective strengths to tackle a team challenge.

Stronger Together
Over the first two sessions, teammates analyzed each other’s “Strength Insight Reports,” which illustrate how each talent theme for that person might show up in their life.

Each teammate heard how their strengths come into play for the team — how they can best help the team and where the team can help them. And as individual teammates shared these affirming observations, they would affix a photo to a poster; a metaphor illustrating how the team witnesses the individual’s strengths. This poster serves to remind of us how the team views each of us. And it reminds us to intentionally use our strengths every day to be more engaged and productive.

More Work to Be Done
Intouch believes in leveraging strengths. So far, we’ve collected and archived the strengths of nearly 150 Intouchers, and the database continues to grow. Ten teams have signed up for their own strengths interventions. Watch this space to see how the initiative evolves!