“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” This rather obscure quote attributed to Albert Einstein (a true genius) exaggerates the challenge of identifying the innate qualities that each of us possesses and applying those qualities to our careers.

Given this knowledge, there is no reason why all workplaces could not be strengths-based. In a global study of companies that have implemented strengths-based management practices, 90% of the groups Gallup studied had performance increases at or above the following ranges:

  • 10% to 19% increase in sales
  • 14% to 29% increase in profit
  • 3% to 7% higher customer engagement
  • 6% to 16% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • 26% to 72% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • 9% to 15% increase in engaged employees
  • 22% to 59% fewer safety incidents

Nonetheless, some leaders prefer to focus on weaknesses. I find that debilitating, and it consumes a huge amount of what I call negative management time because time spent trying to “fix” weaknesses almost always results in negative outcomes for the individuals and the organization.

In fact, I would argue that trying to change our innate qualities and behaviors is a futile exercise.

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