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A letter to a friend about StrengthsFinder

“Across the board, having the opportunity to develop our strengths is more important to our success than our role, our title, or even our pay.”

~Tom Rath, Author StrengthsFinder 2.0

Dear friend,

A well-informed manager has already begun to understand that the top-down method of leadership is no longer effective in their organization. Rewind the clock twenty years, and employees back then were used to working for a manager who cared only about the product and less about their individual opinions or talents.

Now, let’s think about how business works in 2014. The end product is still a massive blip on the radar of your business’s success. But, today, the method in which we achieve, build, create and market that final product has changed…dramatically!

People want to be significant. From the lowest paid, to the highest paid, everyone wants to feel like their opinion not only matters, but is accepted as a possibility to advance their career. Significance, if ignored, results in problems with employee retention. This high rate of turnover creates a budget burst of increased training expenses. And the extra spending on training causes a decrease in available funds allotted for pay raises, bonuses and benefits. Now you find yourself trying to fill voids, but have little to offer those would be hires. Your business is no longer a desirable place to work, yet you expect that same results and quality. You’re forced to hire people who are merely looking to earn a few extra bucks before the holiday, but have zero intentions of calling your hallways home for the next twenty to thirty years.

Acknowledging the talents and strengths of your team is not only good for business, but it increases morale, employee loyalty and overall well-being. When was the last time you told one of your employees…

“I see how well you perform, and I am thankful you’ve chosen to bring that strength into this business?”

A strength under-utilized, is, as Ben Franklin once stated, “Like trying to use a sundial in the dark.” Your charge as a manager or business owner is to shine a light on the many talents your team possesses. By highlighting the strengths of even one individual, you are revealing to them that they are truly significant. This simple act of forward thinking and acknowledgment creates an environment where everyone greets the day with a smile, and is ready to take on any task.

If I asked you to write down a list of talents or strengths you’d want to see within each of your current employees, how many words would be on that list? And if I asked you to make a second list, and write down the talents or strengths you were missing within your organization, how many words would be on that list?

My guess is that there would be several dozen words on each list that were similar in definition. You see, until the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment came along, we all had a difficult time placing our wants and desires into words. Sure we were able to formulate a solid job description with expectations, but our explanations we rarely congruent.

StrengthsFinder provided us with a language, a group of easily exchanged terms used to describe what is great about someone, and what they need from us in order to operate at their best!

Following over five decades of research, the Gallup organization (yes…the same Gallup who creates the polls) was able to break down our massive lists of desirable traits, and place them into 34 Talent Themes. Their research is based on hundreds of thousands of responses from focused surveys issued to professionals all over the world. They distilled down the responses until only the purest results were revealed. This high-proof self-activation assessment is known as the Clifton StrengthsFinder or CSF. The CSF assessment is now accessible online, and has been used by companies such as Best Buy, Yahoo!, Facebook, Caterpillar and hundreds of universities across the country. What this assessment is able to do, is reveal the talent bundles, or themes, that each person instinctively owns. The initial report following the assessment is often referred to as your Top 5.

For example, my Top 5 -> Strategic, Futuristic, Woo, Ideation and Communication

I know right now you want to more about this tool, but I am struggling to keep my passion in check in an effort to keep this message at a reasonable length. The final point I’m going to make before I tell you where to find more information is this…I believe in the power of acknowledgment. I believe that everyone deserves to be lauded for their special talents. And until the CSF assessment was created, I myself was struggling to find the right words to share my appreciation with my team.

I became a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach in May of 2014. I am currently one of approximately 150 in the world. My ability to help others use this tool to foster a more productive work environment was immediately tested when I was given the opportunity to coach a group of professionals from Medical Associates of Clinton, IA.

 “Andy provided this great training opportunity to our supervisors group and it was well received and they have invited him back for more!”

– Michelle Waltz, Medical Associates of Clinton, IA

I know when you hear the term “coach,” you immediately think to yourself, “I don’t want to be told what to do!” And I get it. But I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m simply here to provide you with a tool that’s going to make your life easier. Take it or leave it, the workplace has changed, and the CSF assessment is revolutionizing the way we do business.

If you want to learn more about the CSF assessment, and how I as a Gallup-Certified coach can help your organization, please contact me.

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 Andy Sokolovich

Direct Cell # 815-441-2219

Home 563-219-8081

Email andy@unleashstrengths.com

Website www.UnleashStrengths.com

P.S. Do you know what your talents are? If you’d personally rather dabble in the concept of Strengths-based development first before you enlist my services as a coach, simply email me and I’ll provide you with an access code at no charge. I’m confident that once you take the assessment, you’ll look around your organization and realize how great it would be if everyone was aware of their talents.

Be sure to place the words “CSF Code” in the subject so I don’t miss the email. andy@unleashtrengths.com

P.P.S. I’m sure you’ve already figured this out, but after revealing the Strengths that make up each individual on your team, you’ll have the ability to shuffle things around. Maybe you have a person who’s a strong communicator, but is sitting behind a desk void of any communication with your clients or customers. Think about how much more effective he or she would be if you’d allow them to use their talents in an effort to build your business.

Email me at andy@unleashtrengths.com or visit our website at www.UnleashStrengths.com
photo credit: photobunny via photopin cc

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About The WOO Warrior

Andy is a GALLUP-Certified Strengths Coach, and the owner of UnleashStrengths. He lives with his wife, Marlana, and two children, Adelyn & Drew, in the small Midwest town of Clinton, Iowa. he can be reached at andy@unleashstrengths.com View all posts by The WOO Warrior

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