The strengths culture is so pervasive throughout BK Lighting, it is not uncommon to hear passing jokes and casual conversation surrounding strengths based terminology. There is frequent mention of dialing up or dialing back certain strengths depending on what a presentation or meeting may need. Employees have their top five on display in their workspace to provide reminders for others, and themselves, on where their approach of tasks or conversation may be directed towards. Justin commented several times in conversation about how strengths language may be brought into everything from discussions on where to seek the next round of promotions to water cooler type chat in the offices. Justin specifically looks at strengths when looking for strategic planning teams.
Through all of the experience Justin has in multiple layers of departments at BK Lighting, he has learned a fair amount about what goes into a business of this size and scope. For him, it makes perfect sense to look throughout the company for various experiences, job positions, and talents in order to create a team to make a development plan. Justin exerts, “You get ideas from people doing the work. They know more about what is possible or what already doesn’t work.” He specifically discusses finding people with different ideas, opinions, and strengths. He continues, “You don’t want a team that’s all futuristic, even in planning. You need people who can be analytical, who have input…” He actively seeks and selects employees who will complement one another. This usage is a direct application of what makes Strengths Finder so imperative for businesses. Not only is it an example of Justin’s learner and achiever talents put into practice, but the idea of rounding out teams, rather than individuals is core to what Activate and Strengths Finder encourages.
Justin is further able to round out these teams by sharpening his own talents of futuristic and command. When on a strategic planning team, layer upon layer of strategy is built, truly shaping an idea and analyzing the different paths a concept may take at different steps of development.
Rules of Engagement
With deliberate thought in bringing multiple levels of the business together for meetings, there are deep-set social norms to overcome. Justin knows it can be difficult for someone at the assembly level to feel comfortable with speaking up in a meeting with management, so he proactively addresses this before each meeting. In fact, he has specific rules and procedures for brainstorming sessions in order to breakdown these barriers. Each time together begins with an ice-breaker to open communication and provide for team members to get to know one another. This is followed up by an opportunity to voice concerns; he wants to have transparency and to get these concerns out in the open. Once those are addressed, the rules are read and everyone, from the highest paid person in the meeting to the newest person in the company has to follow the rules. The rules are so strict, there is even a procedure in place to bring a rule breaker to the attention of everyone in the group.
Each of these steps are in place to bring transparency and trust, opening the possibility for ideas to flow and be developed with as little resistance as possible. From there, Kevin or another leader guides the team through specific activities to spur on ideas. Because each person on the team has the background necessary to think through a goal and is brought onto the team for their specific talents, great ideas pour forth from these sessions. Interestingly, every product introduced in the past year and a half, cost reductions in numerous departments, and additional features for existing products and services have been developed by these teams. Kevin is careful to point out, while the scope always changes during implementation, the session is imperative to the discovery of the next steps.
To learn more about how to discover the strengths of those in your organization and to take the first steps to better putting those talents to use, contact us today. Activate Human Capital Group can assist in uncovering the talents you already have, today.