March 8, 2007

News & Opinion: Building On Your Strengths

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 5:59 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I did a interview with Tom Rath of Gallup on Monday. We will be posting that in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to share something that he said during the interview.

A little background first...if you are familiar with with Now, Discover Your Strengths then you are familiar with Gallup's Strengths Finder survey. Playing to your strengths is a philosophy that Gallup has been advocating for over 40 years and is a key consulting practice for them. NDYS came out in 2001 and web based survey was an immediate hit. You answered a series of questions and they delivered back to you your five strengths. The book as well as the online commentary help you get your bearings. Now, Discover Strengths was really designed for managers and there were many suggestions on how to manage employees with these wide variety of strengths. The book has sold more each year than the prior and last year, it spent 50 weeks on the Wall Street Journal Bestsellers List.

Here was the amazing stat for me: 2.5 million people have taken their Strengths Finder survey [mouth dropped open]. Given the number of books they have sold, they have determined that somewhere between 80% and 90% of those who buy the book go on to take the assessment. How is that for response rate?

Add this one to it: With 34 possible strengths and each user's five strengths displayed in the order of importance, there are 16.4 million possible combinations. Tom said that chances are when you take StrengthFinder that you will get a result that has not been shown before.

The book featured on the podcast is Strengths Finder 2.0. This is the new book from Gallup and is meant for frontline employees. They have updated the assessment with better accuracy from their questions and more personalized insights on the results (i.e. even if two people both display the same strengths, they could get different suggestions for improvement based on how they answered the questions).