When you think of your favorite accounting professional, what picture immediately comes to mind? Is it the seasoned professional with green eyeshade and pocket protector running a 10-key calculator, or someone with a little more zest for living – say a weekend marathon runner or gourmet foodie? Should all accountants conform into the same mold – the sort that make dinner parties dull or questionable fashion choices? We think not. Accountants come in all shapes and sizes and run the full gamut of personalities. Our firm is no exception. We have some who are the life of the party, and others who prefer to stick to the sidelines and get the job done. All types are critical to the success of our firm – but who is who?
Nearly a year ago, Copeland Buhl & Company started the learning process of what makes our staff tick and it got us thinking a little harder about what kinds of people we have and what kind of amazing abilities our co-workers have. To conduct this assessment we deployed a tool developed by Gallup called StrengthsFinder. Since 2001, after decades of research, Gallup has been delivering assessments of people by using a 177 question assessment. After about 30 minutes of answering questions, Gallup can amaze you with a list of your top 5 talents out of a possible 34. The 5 top themes that make you-you are unique in the order they manifest in your personality.
We had 76 of our employees take the StrengthsFinder assessment and over 4 intensive training sessions, facilitated by a Gallup coach, we learned more about ourselves and also our coworkers. Not surprisingly, none of our staff had the same ranking in the same order. Additionally, we had every one of the 34 themes represented by at least one employee. Not surprisingly, the single top strength in our firm is achiever, followed by closely by responsibility. In a profession driven by deadlines and due dates, it seems to make sense that people who want to be CPAs also like getting things done. Maybe a little more surprising is that harmony and consistency also scored high amongst our staff.
When I look at the whole firm summary, I am pleased to see individuals with a wide array of strengths, especially when I look by department – there are staff members with strengths in each of the 4 main categories of Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. I think diversity in strengths is what helps us to work well together and retain our staff longer than the average CPA firm.
The training certainly helped us to look a little deeper into our co-workers skill set. Some strengths were obvious after knowing each other for a period of time, others were more hidden. We discovered that perhaps with a little tweaking of responsibilities or job duties, certain individuals may be more valuable to our organization than we even knew prior to the assessment. Certain individuals are naturally predisposed to certain traits, and by assigning them duties that align, they feel more successful, have a greater impact on the task or function they are performing, and everyone appreciates them more.
If your organization is interested in learning more, ask your contact in the firm about their strengths, or check out the Gallup website. We are glad we took the time to invest in our people and learn something about each other along the way.
Responsibility, Maximizer, Achiever, Input, Deliberative
(Means that I am a responsible person who appreciates efficiency, likes to get things done, doesn’t mind learning new things and likes to really think things through before making a decision. Pretty accurate assessment for a 30 minute quiz; I think if you asked my husband he would agree.)