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Friday, November 30, 2012

Bringing Strengths to the World -- in the Right Way

By Paul B. Allen, Strengths Evangelist at Gallup

Don Clifton is known as the father of strengths-based psychology because he spent his life trying to find out what was right with people. The Clifton StrengthsFinder is the culmination of more than 50 years of his work -- this assessment that was first administered through interviewers using tape recorders has now led millions of people around the world to discover their strengths.

In the ’90s, the youngest Ph.D. at Harvard told Don Clifton that the assessment wouldn’t reach a large number of people unless he put it on the Internet. So Gallup’s technology team, under the guidance of CIO Phil Ruhlman, created a Web space where anyone who purchased one of Gallup’s bestselling books, like StrengthsFinder 2.0 or Strengths Based Leadership, could take the assessment using an access code found in the book jacket. Today, coaches, leaders, and individuals can purchase codes online through Gallup Strengths Center, making it easier than ever before for people to discover their strengths.
In those early days, Don Clifton wondered if someday a million people would know what their strengths are -- last month, Gallup passed the 8 million mark.

And now Gallup CEO Jim Clifton is setting our sights even higher.

Jim believes that, while it may someday be possible for Gallup to help a billion people in the world discover what their strengths are, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The right way involves coaching.

In an era of social networks and smart phones, unleashing the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment online might allow Gallup’s strength science to spread quickly all over the world. Millions of people could post their top five strengths -- or their full 34 -- on their favorite social network.

But Gallup’s aim is not to go viral for our own sake. We do not intend to give hundreds of millions of people a quick, one-time interaction with the world’s most accurate psychological assessment.

Our goal is to transform the world with strengths science and strengths coaching -- to eventually help millions of organizations of all sizes become strengths-based organizations.

Properly implementing strengths requires effective personal coaching, so that individuals truly understand their strengths and learn how to use them. It requires training, so that managers know how to work with each individual in a group, and so that teams can maximize their productivity. It requires a culture where strengths are championed by company leaders and they permeate the entire organization.

If you want to see an energized, strengths-based company, just look at Rackspace, a world leader in Web hosting. Robert Scoble describes it in this way:

"At Rackspace Hosting we're religious about using Gallup's StrengthsFinder 2.0. Every employee has their five strengths on the back of their badges and if you ever meet our chairman, Graham Weston, don't bring this up, because you'll end up with a multi-hour interesting conversation about corporate culture, people, and how to build great teams using this system."

And what an incredible company Rackspace has built!

If you want to see an energized, strengths-based school, read about New Technology High School in Napa, Calif., described by Brandon Busteed at a recent White House education event.

While many companies’ employees are bored, stressed, discontented, or even actively disengaged, strengths-based organizations have the right people in the right seats, doing jobs that they love and are naturally good at. The result is energy, engagement, and productivity.

Decades of Gallup research reveal that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.

We’ve seen this happen in some of the world’s best run companies. When a leader from a large organization embraces Gallup’s strategic consulting, including our strengths science, incredible results follow.

These organizations see remarkable results because the most important capital in any company is its human capital. And strengths science, combined with strengths coaching, allows human capital to develop more fully than anything else we have studied.

It’s time for more companies to become strengths-based organizations.

Contact us, if you want to learn how.

Register for future webcasts.

Paul Allen, Gallup’s Strengths Evangelist, is located in Washington, D.C., where he is dedicated to the task of taking the Clifton StrengthsFinder to the world. Prior to joining Gallup, Allen started several software and Internet-based businesses during a 22-year career as an entrepreneur. Allen received his bachelor’s degree in Russian from Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Christy, have eight children, ranging in age from eight to 23. They live in Falls Church, Virginia.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul for highlighting the foundation through Jim Clifton, to the coaching expansion with Phil to Jim Clifton, CEO's vision, along with your online entrepreneurial genius as a strengths evangelist to reach a billion people worldwide with the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0. I'm linking arms with Gallup to make this dream come true!

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