January is a great time to reassess your aims and ambitions, both personally and professionally.
Now I’m no fan of New Year’s resolutions, full of drudgery and endless to-do lists, (lose ‘x’ pounds, go to the gym, etc.). I’m talking about an inner revolution, a spirit which we hope to embody for the year going forward.
Given the seismic changes happening across the world, it’s apt then that leading CX researchers Temkin have named 2018 the Year of Humanity. This means focussing on our common ground as fellow humans and bringing our full authentic selves to work, supporting and encouraging each other to flourish both as individuals and in our organisations.
Strengths based leadership is an approach based on understanding what makes us most fulfilled, energised, and inspired – the areas where we perform best. It turns traditional performance management on its head. Using the old approach, you would identify the areas that people are worst at and prioritise these for development.
Employees expend loads of energy to bring a weakness up to a mediocre level, draining them of energy in the meanwhile. When using strengths, you start afresh from a position of what you are best at and that you love, those things that put you in a state of flow.
Work to do even more of those things that you enjoy and that fulfil you, and it will not even feel like work. You will get a much bigger ROI when you focus your energies on areas that you naturally excel in. Don’t try to be OK at everything – be great at the things that make you you.
In my sessions with my positive psychology mentor, we use strengths as the starting point for our mentoring relationship and goal setting. Strengths are also powerful at a team level; when getting a project off the ground, setting annual goals or planning, you can match people’s strengths to the things that need to be done.
Someone who really loathes detail may be great at brainstorming and innovating. Someone else may be great at planning and analysing and happier to focus on a given task rather than ploughing a new direction. Awareness of this dynamic can be a very powerful thing to help us build happy teams and achieve our goals.
The proof is in the pudding (and the research papers)
There is plenty of evidence from the field of positive psychology demonstrating the benefits of using strengths at work. Using strengths leads to employees who are more confident, happier, and more confident. The business case could not be clearer: managers who developed people using their strengths led to a performance increase of 36.4 percent, compared with a decrease of 26.8 percent when managing based on weaknesses.
Research on the plasticity of the brain has shown that we continue to build neural connections throughout our whole life based on the things that we practice. The take-away message? No matter where you are in life, using your strengths can help you develop more fully.
Embrace a growth mindset as a team and remember that our strengths are always providing us with more opportunities for growth. The link between Employee Experience and Customer Experience is well established and it is our job as CX practitioners to look holistically at our organisations so we all work in harmony of our purpose, delivering great results for customers.
It’s easy to get caught up in the nuts and bolts of CX – TNPS scores, gathering customer insight, journey mapping – and forget about who it is that delivers all of the results: our people.
Looking at the wider culture and the thirst that the millennial generation has for authenticity and purpose at work, it’s clear that our workplaces are changing at pace, and using strengths can help us embrace the power of our uniqueness. Rather than trying to make people in your organisation fit like square pegs in round holes, let’s celebrate connecting with our individuality and our purpose, and bring our full selves to work in service of our customers.
As you build your CX roadmap for 2018, remember to incorporate the vision for people and culture in all that you do.