Because Brilliant Ink is a fully remote team, with employees spread across the country, our annual company retreat has become a sacred time for us. We gather for two days to unplug from our day-to-day work and refocus on some of our bigger priorities – connecting as a team, growing as individuals and developing as an organization. And with a team that’s nearly doubled in size in the past six months (!), this year’s retreat couldn’t have come at a better time.
Last week, we gathered at a spectacular house in the rolling hills of Marin County, California that happened to be smack in the middle of a working goat farm. Surrounded by chickens, goats, sheep and various other members of farm life, we had a fantastic time relaxing and reconnecting as a team.
As we do at every retreat, we did an exercise based on the findings of our individual StrengthsFinders assessments. I’ve used lots of different personality assessments in the past – DISC, Myers-Briggs, etc. – but what bugged me about those is that they focus largely on addressing your shortcomings. What’s unique about StrengthsFinders is that it focuses on the best qualities in each of us, and how we can capitalize on our natural abilities to be successful.
This type of information becomes SO much more powerful when viewed through the lens of a small team. At its most basic level, understanding our strengths helped us get to know each other better as individuals. As a group, we discussed our individual similarities and differences, identified areas where our team is really strong, and thought about how we can play to each others’ strengths when working on complex client challenges. While some of us like rules and structure around our work, others prefer to stay flexible. While some of us enjoy looking to the past for lessons and guidance, others prefer to focus squarely on the future. Perhaps the best part about StrengthsFinders? As we discussed these topics, there was never any blame, judgement or finger-pointing – rather, we had a frank discussion about what we’re all naturally good at, and uncovered ways we can play to those natural strengths to make ourselves a more effective team overall.
Once you’re on board with the concept of playing to your strengths, you’ll soon discover a plethora of resources – from books on strengths-based marriage and parenting to guides for leaders and managers. What’s more, getting hooked on strengths is likely to have far-reaching benefits. In fact, Gallup has found that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job. And if that’s not enough to convince you, Gallup’s research also found that organizations that invest in strengths-based development achieve as much as a 29% increase in profit.
Not sure about you, but I’m a believer! Building a strengths-based culture has made a huge difference for team Brilliant Ink, and we’ll continue playing to our strengths as we evolve as a company. What’s worked well for your organization? Are you a Strengths Advocate?