The Line - Self Leadership - Development

The Power of Strengths-Based Organizations

How to Utilize CliftonStrengths to Boost Productivity, Retention, and Well-Being

by Kat Schulte | May 2023

It is no surprise that we love talking about strengths around here. And while we love talking with individuals about their strengths, we are even more excited about the magic that happens when the power of strengths is utilized at the team and organizational level.

Why do strengths-based organizations matter?

Why do we care so much about teams functioning around their strengths? Because strengths-based organizations fare better across almost all markers compared to other teams.

When individuals strongly agree that they have the opportunity to use their strengths at work every day, they are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general (from StrengthsFinder 2.0). And that’s not all: Strengths based organizations are also more productive, more profitable, have higher retention rates, less absenteeism, and less accidents on the job. (from: A Business Case for Strengths)

Work wellbeing is a challenge for so many organizations – so much so that it is among the current priorities of the US surgeon general. Strengths-based organizations have a leg up here by enabling their people and teams to thrive.

The case for employee engagement

In a climate where employee burnout is high and retention is a challenge, these impacts are significant.  The truth of the matter is that disengagement is very costly. Check out these stats from a recent Gallup poll:

What do we mean by strengths-based organization anyway?


In a strengths-based organization, each individual on the team would strongly agree with the following statement: “I have the opportunity to do what I do best at work everyday.” And beyond this seemingly simple statement, strengths-based teams embody a distinct culture that enables their individuals to thrive.

When we use the term strength, we are referring to the unique contributions that each individual brings to the table, the unique traits, skills, and characteristics that make a person who they are. In order to clearly define them, we use a tool called CliftonStrengths. From there, teams, managers and organizations as a whole can use this info in powerful ways. Take a look at the questions below to see how you can grow in becoming a strengths-based organization.

“We find that team members who have completed the Strengths-Based Leadership program are able to understand what strengths they bring to the table and are able to utilize them to their best ability.”

– Casey R. from Stiles Machinery

So, is your organization strengths-based?


Use the following three questions to see if you are currently operating as a strength-based team:

1. Are individuals able to clearly and concisely identify their strengths?

In Strengths-based organizations, each individual is able to clearly and concisely identify and articulate what it is that they “do best” – their talents.

This is harder than it sounds. Most of us spend more time thinking and working on our weaknesses rather than our strengths – thanks, negativity bias 🙂. Compliments and accolades can roll off us like water off a duck’s back, but negative comments seem to stick instantly. To truly focus on talent is a very real shift from much of how our society functions.

This ability is more than just feel-good fluff. It enables individuals to feel valued and a sense of belonging – necessities for a thriving team. If you’d like get your team started with strengths work, our Unlocking Strengths experience is a great place to start.

2. Are managers intentionally developing and maximizing their teams?

In strengths-based teams, leaders intentionally develop and maximize the talents of their people.

We are often blind to our greatest talents. Our top talents and strengths are so second-nature to us – they just are part of the air we breathe – that we fail to notice them. And we can’t intentionally develop something we can’t see. In strengths-based teams, managers are practiced in finding the strengths of their people, and utilizing their awareness towards calling out and developing those strengths. This development fills a team with motivation and engagement, essential elements of thriving teams.

If you are ready to get your managers leading with strengths, our Manage Like a Boss program is a great next step.

3. Do teams share a language to recognize, understand, and maximize the talents of their team members?

In strengths-based teams, people share a common language to recognize, understand, and maximize the talents of their team members.

Sharing language within a team is powerful. Miscommunication is one of the most common complaints at work. We are communicating constantly, and we often miss each other. Strengths-based orgs have shared language to understand what each member does best, and it unlocks the capacity to collaborate more effectively and meaningfully. This collaboration around strengths provides teams a needed sense of connection to others as well as a sense of purposeful connection around the work they do.

If your team is ready for a deep dive into strengths, check out our two-day deep dive experience: Strengths-Based Leadership.

Need a spotter? 

If you want to see more of this goodness in your team, we do too! And we’ve got your back; you don’t have to do it alone! It is literally what gets us out of bed in the morning.

Explore some of our programs designed around strengths or reach out to schedule a discovery call to explore the right fit for your team.


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