A Case for Strengths

Share with your organization about the ROI when you focus on strengths.

For decades, The Gallup Organization has conducted ongoing surveys of workers in organizations around the world to explore what makes companies and teams great. These surveys have posed thousands of questions to hundreds of thousands of employees in almost 8,000 business units and have measured the answers alongside key business outcomes, including productivity, customer loyalty, and turnover/retention rates.

When the results were compiled and analyzed, patterns emerged in the data. Gallup isolated twelve key questions* that differentiated high-performing teams and individuals from average or subpar performers. Of those twelve questions, one question showed the greatest correlation to the most business outcomes:

Now we have the key to a more effective workplace: make sure that people say "yes" when you ask if they have the chance to do what they do best every day.

Yet only 2 out of 10 people answer "yes" to this key question. Even worse, less than a quarter of employees indicate that their supervisors discuss their strengths in performance conversations. When asked whether focusing on enhancing strengths or fixing weaknesses will yield the best results, only about 40% of U.S. workers choose strengths with most of the rest of the world being even more weakness-oriented.

This research—which we continue to monitor and update every year—is what drives our mission. We know that people don't get the chance to use their strengths often enough nor do they even think that they should prioritize their strengths. Yet we know that every individual, team, and organization will be better off if people can shift their focus to strengths. Focusing on strengths is the surest way to greater job satisfaction, team performance and organizational excellence.

* The list of 12 questions and a fuller explanation of the data are available in First, Break All the Rules.