On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Strengths Expeditor at Leadership Rhode Island, Mike Ritz and Kevin Cooper.
Mike Ritz and Kevin Cooper work for Leadership Rhode Island, a community leadership development organization founded in 1981. The mission of Leadership Rhode Island is to provide leaders and emerging leaders with knowledge and access to resources which will enable them to positively affect their communities. Mike and Kevin are currently working on the “Make RI Strong” initiative, which is about making Rhode Island (RI) a strengths-based state. Leadership Rhode Island has known for decades that the state of RI suffers from a negative psyche and they are hoping strengths can be an answer to that. They also know, according to Gallup’s State of the U.S. Workplace Report, that RI has one of the least engaged workforces in the country.
When asked how they’ve been able to roll out strengths within their state, they say they started with their connections. Leadership RI has a wide network of leaders throughout the state who went through their program over the last 25 years. They have found that these leaders want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and part of a movement to make their organizations and communities better. They also said it’s easy for them to get people on board with the idea of strengths because it’s not a “fluffy” idea. They have solid numbers from their own tracking and through Gallup’s research about equating strengths and workplace engagement to dollars. A lot of leaders put human resource initiatives off because they’re too busy or they don’t want to spend the money. But when they give them the numbers to provide a sense of urgency it drives them to invest in their people. Leadership RI has also leveraged the high-profile individuals who have invested in strengths and they highlight their testimonials for others to see.
Close to 1% of the population in RI has taken the StrengthsFinder assessment. Their goal is 10%. Social scientist and experts on behavioral changes say it takes 10% of a population to be exposed to something before you can see a shift in behavior. They have quite a way to go, but they’ve already seen great success in their endeavors and strong improvements in the organizations who have implemented strengths.
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To hear more about coaching strengths for organizations, individuals and coaches, please watch the full video or listen to the audio above.