You can increase the engagement and productivity at South Mountain by leveraging strengths and hosting a strength-based meeting. Strength-based meetings happen when people coming together for the purpose of decision making or planning see the meeting as an opportunity to contribute their talents to the organization.
Here are 4 techniques to strengthen your meetings:
The most effective outcomes occur when attendees have a shared purpose, have knowledge and skills necessary to a successful outcome and have complementary strengths. Tom Rath suggests that strong groups should be well rounded, because individuals aren’t. If possible, people from all four domains of strengths – execution, influencing, relationship and strategic thinking – should be invited. The best plans may be created with strategic thought but to be successful they must be built around the people who will be affected and have built in steps to ensure it will get done.
Require everyone to sign in with their strengths.
Effective team members donate their strengths to the group most of the time. By requiring each attendee to sign and complete a blank strengths matrix, they will be reminded to be aware of and donate their unique talents throughout the meeting. The completed matrix should be placed in full view to help everyone value and encourage other talents in the room. Click here to print a Blank Strengths Matrix
Begin each meeting with a strengths check-in.
Include as the first agenda item a question or topic of discussion related to strengths. Limit the time of discussion to 5 to 10 minutes so that the efficiency of the meeting is not impacted. Check-ins are brief, non-threatening, and a fun way of sharing information. The purpose is to bring the group to attention at the beginning of a meeting and stimulate thought from a strengths perspective. If the group is large, you may have everyone pair up or share in small groups.
The following are a few examples of check-ins you can use at meetings:
- What strengths did you use most productively in the past week at work?
- What needed strengths are not represented in this group?
- What tasks associated with this project do you look forward to the most?
- Describe your day yesterday in 5 words.
- Finish this sentence: The best news I’ve had in the past week is …
- Finish this sentence: The next time we meet, we should …
- What do you need to get from the group today?
- What is the biggest challenge you face in the first 10 minutes of the workday?
- What is the most interesting thing that happened to you last week?
- What are you likely to daydream about today?
- What was the last good deed you did?
- How would your next-door neighbor (colleagues, students) describe you in two words?
- What is the most useful item in your office?
Match strengths with required tasks
For each project or challenge, take time to identify an exhaustive “to do” list. Then, ask people to take on those to-do items where they feel they could leverage their natural talents. Encourage partnerships. Any items on the list after discussion may need to be assigned. With each critical activity, make sure expectations are clear to everyone. Talk about who owns what projects, deadlines or assignments and what is expected. Employees are engaged only if they fully understand what is expected of them.
South Mountain Community College is a strengths-based college where everyone succeeds by being encouraged to do what they do best every day. When a considerable amount of any workday is spent in meetings, using these 4 simple suggestions will help encourage everyone to do what they do best every day and make South Mountain Community College an engaging workplace.