How to Build a Strengths-Based Culture

In Chapter 26 of their latest book, Culture Shock, Jim Clifton and Jim Harter observe, “Very few organizations in the world can say their culture is strengths-based. This is a missed opportunity. Organizations with strengths-based cultures greatly outperform their competition by building much stronger customer relationships.

“Building a strengths-based culture is hard work. Simply knowing everyone’s strengths is not enough. It takes conversations, coaching, and practice to successfully integrate strengths into daily routines. The most effective way to accomplish this is by systematically upskilling your managers and certifying them to coach each team member to apply and develop their strengths.”

The steps to building a strengths-based culture

1, Encourage every employee to discover their strengths.
2. Build an internal network of certified strengths coaches.
3. Integrate strengths into performance management.
4. Transform your learning programs.
5. Build a system for selecting all employees into roles that fit their innate talents.
6. Clarify where strengths fit into your strategy.

All this is discussed in greater detail in Pages 129-133.

Culture Shock: An unstoppable force has changed how we work and live. Gallup’s solution to the biggest leadership issue of our time. was published by Gallup Press (May 2023).

How important is this book? In 1970, Alvin Toffler provides the answer in his book, entitled Future Shock: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

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Jm Clifton is the Chairman of Gallup, a global analytics and advice firm. Clifton served as the organization’s CEO from 1988 until 2022. Under his leadership as CEO, Gallup expanded from a predominantly U.S.-based company to a worldwide organization with 30 offices in 20 countries and regions. He created The Gallup Path, a metric-based economic model that establishes the linkages among human nature in the workplace, customer engagement and business outcomes. This model is used in performance management systems in more than 500 companies worldwide. Another of his innovations, the Gallup World Poll, gives the world’s 7 billion citizens a voice on virtually all key global issues.

Clifton is the author of Wall Street Journal bestseller Wellbeing at Work, released in 2021, a book that explores how to build resilient and thriving teams in organizations. He is also author of the No. 1 Wall Street Journal bestsellers It’s the ManagerBorn to Build, and The Coming Jobs War, as well as many articles on global leadership. His blog appears regularly in the Influencer section of LinkedIn and on’s Chairman’s Blog.

Jim Harter, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist, Workplace for Gallup, and bestselling coauthor of Culture Shock, Wellbeing at Work, It’s the Manager, 12: The Elements of Great Managing and Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. His research is also featured in the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, First, Break All the Rules.

Harter has led more than 1,000 studies of workplace effectiveness, including the largest ongoing meta-analysis of human potential and business unit performance. His work has also appeared in many publications, including Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and Time Magazine, and in many prominent business and academic journals.


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