Friday, May 21, 2010

Starting Strengths-Based Teams

My most common approach to starting teams on a strengths-based approach is relatively straightforward, but powerful and a big return for a small effort and investment of time.

I order the StrengthsFinder 2.0 books, one per team member, on Amazon. Once the books arrive, I hand them out in the next team meeting (perhaps after the Daily Stand-up). I explain that the book is not so much to read, but for reference and that really it's for the code in the back of the book that lets them each take a strengths profile exam. The book has all the instructions on how to create an account and take the test. I ask that they take the exam within a week and to send me the results of their test.

I then schedule a 1 to 1.5 hour meeting to occur several days after their week deadline. In this meeting I give some background of the test, Gallup and why this is valuable to them. You can find this information on my blog or on the web. The main part of the meeting, though, is that I whiteboard a large grid. One by one, we go around the room with each person saying what their strengths are. I write them up and talk about each each, one by one. It's informative, fun and bonding.

After the meeting, I scribe the results grid and put it somewhere public (SharePoint team site, wiki, email it out, or posted in the war room). Depending on the team, I'll ask them to post their list on the cube wall.

All of this takes maybe 2 hours of effort, planning and meeting time, plus 45 minutes of their time at most to take the test. The logistics of doing this is very easy but has a huge return. But there's much more that can be done to leverage the value here, as well as grow it. I'll cover more of that in a subsequent post.

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