At David Forman we support individuals and organisations in their quest to never stop developing, growing, learning and winning – and it all starts with us!

For over a year now, we have been learning about our personal strengths and using that knowledge as a tool to develop ourselves as individuals, to help grow together as a team and to ensure we are all making the best use of what we are naturally talented at in group situations.

Recent research shows that people who understand and intentionally apply their talents are more likely to be productive and engaged at work; as well as enjoying an excellent overall quality of life. On top of individual performance, a strengths-based approach helps create an exceptional workplace culture – leading to more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies now using this style in some form (It’s nice to know we are not alone in our thinking!) We personally went with the CliftonStrengths model as one of our team members is qualified to administer the program; but there are others out there.

One of the positive impacts we’ve already seen is an increased self-awareness and an understanding of our innate abilities.

A key challenge to utilizing our strengths has been taking what we’re good at for granted or not even recognizing it as a talent – have you ever said: “That’s just normal – doesn’t everyone do that?!” The answer is, “That’s normal for you and no, not everyone does that!” Those things that come easy to us, they’re our strengths! Likewise, the things that drive us crazy about others, are also strengths – they’re just not the same as ours.

Using the language of strengths – recognizing that no one theme is better or worse than another, they’re just different – gives us a neutral way to address these differences. We can describe what we need and why or what we’re finding difficult and why.

Opening communication this way has enabled our team to quickly drill down to potential conflict areas, come up with solutions proactively and create an understanding working environment. We’re also able to be more specific when communicating our requirements of others.

Being a high-performing team that delivers world-class learning solutions means we lean heavily towards perfectionism at times. Developing team-awareness of our collective strengths has given us a more collaborative approach in stressful times; helping us to know when to ask for help and from whom. This enables us to stay committed to excellence, without the time-wasting limitations of perfectionism.

At David Forman, we asked the question, “How can we do team better?” Based on what I’ve just described, I’m pretty sure we’re on the right track!