Friday Aug 17, 2012 by Ben Levitan - CEO, IMN
Take a second and think about your fellow employees—those whom you manage, your peers and even your managers or mentors—do you know what their strengths are?
Does your company have a high concentration of “achievers,” “adapters,” “communicators” or “maximizers”?
It is likely that you don’t know the answer to that question.
The majority of employees and workplaces concentrate their time and energy on developing the skills that their employees lack, instead of figuring out what strengths they collectively possess and leveraging those to advance the company.
While a variety of tools exist to identify the skills that individuals possess, my tool of choice is the assessment that accompanies the book StrengthsFinder. On the premise that how people use their strengths is predictive of job engagement, the assessment (first created by Gallup and Dr. Donald Clifton in 2001) uses more than 5,000 personalized Strengths Insights to measure the presence of 34 talent themes.
Despite initial skepticism from my fellow employees at IMN, StrengthsFinder assessments were rolled out across the organization when I assumed the role of CEO in 2011. A cultural committee was put in place to administer the tool. The results gave me immense perspective on the company and its talent base. The talent profiles revealed what our company was collectively good at and helped us work together to close the gaps. The data was used to balance teams, improve internal communications and understand how talent was distributed across the organization.
When finalist candidates come in to interview for a job at IMN, they have already taken the StrengthsFinder assessment and read the book in advance of the interview. While the results of the assessment are not used as a “screening tool,” this data does provide a topic for additional discussion and serves as an additional data source to help us determine if the individual is a cultural fit and what team they would be best suited for.
Today, IMN employees have their strengths listed on their office doors and an “open strengths database” is available for all employees to review and see how their strengths align with their co-workers. This helps us focus on what the employees are good at and where best to leverage them to help us all succeed. We are very transparent with our customers and prospects about how we use this tool—in fact, many of them have received copies of the book from me.
Since we have begun using StrengthsFinder, IMN has become more flat and people are left to excel based on their strength areas. This is not just a hiring tool, or a tool that has helped us reconfigure internal teams. This approach has truly allowed IMN to use its “culture as a weapon,” improve how we treat our customers and allow us to develop innovative solutions faster than before.