Why the Strengths Springboard?
In early 2009, with the global financial system and world economies rapidly diving into deep melt-down, I started writingthe 'Strengths Springboard - Is your organization ready?'.
For years, I'd been focused on growing the capability of people and organizations, always seeing what others were missing and reflecting it back in a way that people could move forward. Whether through individual career coaching, team effectiveness work, colleague engagement consulting or larger-scale speaking events, I had seen first-hand the benefits of approaching work through strengths - at the same time, I had been consciously improving my chances of doing what I do best for more of the time by developing and using my own strengths.
You've found your way here, so you know what that means: spotting and naming your strengths, flexing your role, negotiating partnerships, dropping the stuff that just plain gets in the way. I don't need to educate you on any of that (and if I do, then it's time for you to head off to Gallup or The Marcus Buckingham Company and I'll see you back here when you're done learning about personal strengths!)
So, why the Strengths Springboard?
I have a phrase that I use throughout my consultancy work:
"It's all common sense, so why isn't everyone doing it?"
which for me summarises most business situations - and I've found over the years that the second half of the question is where the answers lie, not the common sense. Take management for example - there are nearly a million books published with the word 'management' in their title. Do we really need to explain the common sense of management any further? I don't think so. The trick is to find out why people aren't doing it!
And so it was with strengths. From my own experience, strengths-based working makes absolute common sense. Yet only around a third of people Strongly Agree to Gallup's question of whether they get to do what they do best every day. In Marcus Buckingham's latest research, only 12% say that they get to play to their strengths most of the time.
It's all common sense, so why isn't everyone doing it?
In trying to answer that question, I started looking not at the individual who is focusing on growing their strengths but instead at the organization that's wrapped around them.
And I found a different view of the common sense and why everyone isn't doing it. The organization doesn't want them to. Simple as that. The strengths-based individual is at odds with the society in which they live and work. To quote 'The Strengths Springboard - is your organization ready?':
"... For most people in most organizations, the idea of identifying, developing and living their strengths every day is as out of place as a diver trying to complete a routine without the aid of a springboard and swimming pool. The belief system doesn’t support it. The structural reinforcement isn’t there..."
The majority of modern organizations are living to a set of beliefs that were designed for the industrialized manufacturing industries of the 20th century, not the knowledge, service and lifestyle economies that are the new competitive arena. Which is where we came in, with the collapse of 20th century capitalist structures. Has capitalism changed for good? Too early to say yet, but it sure feels like it in early 2009.
What is certain, though, is that having more employees playing to their strengths will be at the forefront of the next competitive edge, and the organization that accomplishes that will survive and thrive. And, unless you are incredibly lucky, it's highly likely that your organization is doing whatever it can to prevent that from happening.
Changing that is the answer to 'Why the Strengths Springboard?'
In 'The Strengths Springboard - is your organization ready?', I describe how the modern organization's belief-set does NOT want employees to identify, grow and deploy individual strengths, and why time is running out in that script. More importantly, I share the 5 core beliefs of the Strengths Springboard as well as workable, tangible methods by which to build them into your organization's words, symbols, behaviors, processes and systems.
But if I stopped there, wouldn't I just be explaining the common sense once again? Not me. I am a commitment to help you improve your life by delivering my potential. That's why membership of the Strengths Springboard also brings access to community forums, tools and resources. Discussion and action is the only place where belief comes real - so bring on the discussion; I'll see you on the boards!