Free Consultation: Receive expert recommendations. Schedule a Time Here or Call (800) 700-6507.


Building upon Your Strengths

Peter Drucker, author of The Effective Executive, wrote, “An effective executive builds on strengths; their own strengths, the strengths of superiors, colleagues, subordinates; and on the strengths of the situation.” Marcus Buckingham, author of Go Put Your Strengths to Work, wrote, “You don’t focus on people’s strengths to make them happier. You do it to make them better performers.”

There is growing support in corporate America to become more strength based. However, Marcus Buckingham further states that most people do not know how to play to their strengths. “We know how to label our strengths, however we have little idea how to take control of our work and steer it towards these strengths.”

But how do you position and develop employees’ talents and strengths? It starts with how you select , develop and channel the careers of your people. It has been reported the talent shortage is going to have a profound impact on companies of all sizes. This may not be the case once the organization begins recognizing the talents and strengths of their employees. Employees, who play to their strengths, stay longer, work smarter and apply increased discretionary effort, all resulting in improved business results. Organizations must start mining the talent that resides within each of their employees. When this takes place, organizations will experience levels of increased productivity far outweighing the productivity increases caused by the technology revolution of the past 10 years.

Result-driven leaders possess leadership, managerial and technical talents and strengths. The CheckPoint™360° and ProfileXT® reports are tools that will help identify leader’s talents and strengths. Now that you know your leadership strengths and talents, how do you avoid falling into the trap of not knowing how to steer your job towards further use of those talents and strengths?

Process of Building upon Strengths

The process of building upon strengths and talents is not easy, but it can be broken down into three steps. You start by confirming your unique leadership strengths and talents. The best way to do that is through the feedback of those who see you perform as a leader. Now that you have accurate feedback, you need to learn to act upon that feedback.

Reflect upon your current and past positions in your career. How did your strengths and talents help you achieve results? Think about specific situations. Breakdown your actions in those situations and identify where your strengths accelerated your performance.

Once you have a good understanding of how your strengths have helped you in your past, then you need to further develop those strengths and talents. One reason people struggle with building upon strengths is their misconception of how strengths are developed. For years people thought, “If I can just gain more knowledge, I will grow in my job.” But experience has demonstrated “knowledge acquired does not necessarily result in knowledge applied.”

Developing Your Strengths On-the-job

The best way to develop a leader is on-the-job learning. It is not that taking courses or seminars cannot be beneficial; they can be. Knowledge and skill acquired in courses or seminars rarely transfer to the job due to lack of feedback and reinforcement on-the-job. Unless you have a highly motivated person, they return to the job and try the new skill once, maybe twice, but if they begin to realize what they are doing is not being perceived as important to the organization, they will revert back to doing things the old way.

So what are the best methods for developing strengths on-the-job? Bob Eichinger and Mike Lomminger, researchers at the Center for Creative Leadership , found that development starts with knowledge and application of competencies. Once you know your strengths and talents, you can work with your organization to provide you with the opportunity to tackle job-specific challenges. The types of challenges that make a difference are carrying functional assignments from beginning to end and being fully cross-trained in all in-store tasks;

  • Implementing a companywide change
  • Implementing a plan to cut cost or control inventories
  • Negotiating agreements with your peers or other function leaders
  • Transitioning from being a reactive leader to a proactive leader
  • Increasing your ability to solve increasing complex in-store challenges
  • Strengthening your customer service skills
  • Leading by example
  • Become proficient in the situational use of your leadership skills
  • Coaching your direct reports and other employees
  • Operating in high-pressure or high-visibility situations.

These are just a few on-the-job activities; there are many more. Practice your creativity skills and think outside the box.

Another method of developing on-the-job is to gain specific organizational knowledge. How much do you know about the different divisions, functions, processes, products, services, customers and technologies of your company and eventually your parent company? Seek out this knowledge by reading everything you can about your company, seeking out experts in various functional areas and cataloging your information in such a way that you can quickly recall the data and use it when appropriate. Other methods for developing on-the-job are through involvement with a mentor, management, functional leader, supervisor and team leader.

Remember: Why settle for good when you have the opportunity to be great!

Learn how our surveys can help identify the talents and strengths of your employees.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (800) 700-6507 or

2 Critical Questions to Ask for Effective Succession Planning

(excerpted from Harvard Business Review blog by Marshall Goldsmith) Succession planning is often misunderstood or undervalued in the workplace. A research poll from SHRM found that only 23 percent of organizations have a formal succession plan and 38 percent have some informal planning in place. These numbers are low compared to just how important succession planning is to an organization’s success. The research also found that larger organizations (with 2,500 employees or more) are much more likely to have succession plans.

Whether you’re a large corporation or small business, the economy is constantly changing and unpredictable. You never know when employees may leave or retire, and you’re faced with vacant job positions that are critical to your organization’s function. So, you need to be prepared! An effective succession plan benefits the organization and its employees in many ways, such as: identifying the current and future needs of the organization, identifying top performers and leaders, and assisting in employee development.

An article from Harvard Business Review even says to “change the name from succession planning to succession development.” Effective succession planning helps organizations develop their internal talent in areas that will prepare them to succeed in higher-level and leadership positions. A great leader needs to be able to work effectively with people and make successful transitions to higher levels of responsibility and accountability. Succession planning will identify the people who are capable of leadership and identify the areas one needs to develop to become successful.

The heart of succession planning is the evaluation of employees’ performance and potential. In doing this, you must ask these two questions:

1. How is the employee being perceived? When evaluating and assessing employees, it’s important to know how they interact with others. Do they demonstrate leadership skills and confidence in the workplace? To gain this valuable information, it’s important to look at employees through the eyes of their coworkers and leaders who they interact with on a day-to-day basis. That’s where assessments, like the CheckPoint 360°™, can help. 360-degree assessments evaluate a person’s leadership performance and potential with direct feedback from peers, supervisors and even customers.

2. What are the employee’s unique characteristics? When looking at an employee’s performance and potential, you need to take into account what job positions and responsibilities will be the best fit. To determine this, you need to know your employees’ behaviors, motivations, interests and values. What makes them tick? Will they be capable of working under more pressure? To gather this data objectively, you can use full-person assessments. For example, the ProfileXT® measures over 20 performance factors including behavioral tendencies, thinking and reasoning skills, aptitude and interests. The assessment results then indicate how strongly an employee matches different job positions and identifies areas he or she needs to develop to become successful.

Blending together the CheckPoint 360°™ and the ProfileXT™ gives organizations the data needed to form highly effective succession plans.