Over the years, I’ve regularly heard people talk about a “strengths-based organization.” I’m sure I’ve used this phrase many times myself, and I’d venture to say that we probably have some client partners right now that think this is the “point” of what we’re trying to do with them.
I’ve come to realize I don’t believe this is true.
In a nutshell: “strengths” isn’t the goal, it’s the MECHANISM.
It’s easy to get distracted by the “strengths” topic, and the assessment we use is super cool and all that, but what we’re really talking about is an “operating system upgrade” — and as Steve Jobs always pointed out, the purpose of technology isn’t the software itself; it’s all the amazing things people create with it!
Likewise, our goal at Helios isn’t to create a “strengths-based organization” per se — it’s to provide a better way for an organization to more effectively accomplish whatever its noble cause is!
Note: This might very well expose the fact that the organization has an outdated (or lame) noble cause. If this is the case, forgoodnesssake, correct that first.
When an organization misses this big point — that “strengths” is a mechanism, not the goal — it’s easy for really well-intentioned leaders and HR people to get lost in the abyss of “development for development’s sake” and to lose line of sight between the work we’re doing and their business goals/objectives. So this is a vitally important distinction to make moving forward: “strengths” isn’t actually the POINT at all.
The POINT is that we help capital-L Leaders (i.e. anyone who’s doing something worth following) get after whatever they’re trying to make better about the world in a more energy-efficient and life-giving way.
THAT is what we actually do.