Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Strengthsfinder 2.0 and the Gallup Panel

The first question the recruiter from Gallup asked the audience was, "What do you think of when you hear the name 'Gallup'?" The obvious response is polls. However, as she went on to explain, the skills they have to successfully generate polls are the same observational skills that allow them to improve businesses on a significant scale.

They are a consulting firm. During Consulting week in October at Graziadio, there was an alumni panel as well as a Gallup panel. Unlike typical strategy firms, Gallup's focus is two-fold and very different. First of all, through their polling and general information gathering, they have tremendous resources in which to pull from when advising their clients. However, almost more importantly, they know how to build values in relationships and to do that, they use strengths-based analysis and implementation.

They are often involved in improving productivity by generating new ways in which to utilize your work force. Most people are dissatisfied by their job, I believe that stat was 90%. And more than that, people are not doing jobs that they are innately suited for. One of the books they gave out, "Strength Based Leadership", revolves around the concept that you should be enhancing and expanding upon your already pre-existing strengths, not spending twice the energy trying to fix your weaknesses.

This is where they differ greatly from other consulting firms. Most firms go into a company and try to "fix what's broken". Gallup tries to enhance and reorganize around what's working. Through scientific analysis and quiz-taking, they have been able to determine what each person's 5 strengths-based themes are. By being armed with this knowledge, you can not only figure out if you are in the right position, but if you are exercising these muscles on a regular basis.

During the panel, I received the book "Strengthsfinder 2.0". It is essentially an abridged version of the larger book previously mentioned. As part of it, you are given an access code to the strengthsfinder.com quiz that will analyze your strengths.

In order, mine were: Communication, Significance, Strategic, Activation, and Woo. These themes are not just strengths but they include recommendations as to how to better implement them in your work and personal lives. By living from a positive perspective of what you do right, it is only a matter of time that you will just inherently get better at what you are doing. Also, they teach you how to partner with people of other strengths to enhance where you are weak.

The books and online analysis obviously go into more detail then I can do here, but it was refreshing to look at these strengths, keep in mind my current career goals, and realize they were congruent and compatible. This is where Gallup strikes a very emotional cord in their approach, and one that I found unique and fascinating.

The Gallup panel was eye-opening in a variety of ways, and it seems that there is no end to the way in which "consulting" can manifest itself. This field, as my mentor Jeanne Hartley said, "Is a way of doing things, not a way of being." Consulting has many forms and it seems like I must keep investigating.

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