Building a Strengths-Based Organization

If employees are lucky enough to receive regular feedback or performance reviews from their manager it’s usually centered around an “area for improvement”. Once this weakness is identified, organizations will build plans and goals for employees to overcome these deficiencies. Those plans and goals lead employees to spend hundreds of hours trying to get better at what they’re not good at.

There is no doubt that investing hundreds of hours into improving a weakness can lead to better performance, but often the process feels arduous and painful. Most people will put off working on what doesn’t feel good in favour of what does.

Strengths-based organizations recognize that people love doing what they’re good at. A strength is a natural talent, developed over time, and can be executed with near perfect performance. Instead of having employees spend hundreds of hours marginally improving areas of weakness, strengths-based organizations focus those development hours on what they excel at naturally. Employees who focus their development on natural talents have the opportunity to become best in the world at what they do.

Organizations and managers should be asking themselves: “Do our employees have the opportunity to do what they do best everyday?” Building a strengths-based organization leads to higher levels of employee engagement, increased motivation, and ultimately better business outcomes.

Building a strengths-based organization requires everyone adopting a different mindset and takes time. Managers can start by reframing how they work with their direct reports. Sitting down with an employee to consider the following questions is a great start.

–       What do you love doing? Why?

–       When are you most happy at work? Why?

–       What do you feel you do better than others around you?

Managers can use this information to help their employees focus more of their work around their strengths.

On a larger scale, organizations can use more formal assessments like Gallup StrengthsFinder to help entire teams identify individual strengths and understand how they work together in a group dynamic. Organizations that can adopt a strengths-based mindset, focus on what’s right with people, while giving them the opportunity to do what they do best everyday will see the benefits in both employee attitudes and business results.


Written by: Amanda Hudson