25 Sep Maximizing Strengths | Sherrie Whatton LBMC Staffing Solutions
In today’s video, we have Sherrie Whatton, who is the CEO of LBMC Staffing Solutions.
Sherrie talks with us about maximizing strengths to achieve exponential business growth.
DONNA: Now, Sherrie I know you’ve had a lot of years of really fabulous experience here and done and a lot of good work.
SHERRIE: Oh, thank you.
DONNA: You’re welcome. But all of you clients, from everything that I can see and hear, feel like, “Wow, Sherrie and her group are just a total extension of our company.” Which, I know from being an outsider in companies, it’s hard to get there sometimes. So that is a big congratulations to you.
SHERRIE: Oh, thank you.
DONNA: So, what I want to talk about is, not necessarily what you do with your clients, but I want to look at how do you lead your own team to make sure that you’re getting the success that you have? Because it’s raving success.
SHERRIE: Oh, thank you so much. I, you know, had an opportunity, back a few years ago, and it was to actually hear about focusing on strengths and through that conversation, it just really gave me, kind of a paradigm shift in some of my leadership and management kind of thoughts and it was on an assessment, basically, it was looking at strengths and they were talking about a case study and it’s the whole, I guess, thought process around where you can get exponential improvement, right?
SHERRIE: So they were talking about how they had taken a group of individuals that were just, had natural ability, and were strong speed readers, reading comprehension, and then they took a group that was not so strong, and kind of weaker in that, you know, subset as well and so they put them through, like a timed reading test and, I won’t get the numbers right exactly, but you’ll get the concept of it. Say there was like 758 words for the group that was strong, and maybe 328 for the group that was weaker. Then they put them through an exercise of learning and trying to, again, improve that skill. And then they put them back through the timed test and the group that was at 758, the strong readers to begin with naturally, and had that strength, went from like 750 to like 1287, like almost double.
SHERRIE: And then the group that was weaker at that skill, actually just went from like 328 to under 500. So, you see that exponential improvement that you get when you focus on the strengths.
SHERRIE: And so it just really made me think about how as cultures, a lot of times, you know, you go back to our age-old work performance reviews and how so many cultures, even today honestly, can really hone in and focus on people’s weaknesses and feel like we have to kind of continually be focused on energy of improving those and I’m not saying we should ignore them, don’t get me wrong, but-
DONNA: But isn’t that why people dread performance appraisals in the first place?
SHERRIE: Right! Because-
DONNA: Dread it! What have I done wrong?
SHERRIE: Exactly, exactly.
DONNA: And why am I not hearing this every day? Why am I hearing may be–
SHERRIE: Once, a year?
DONNA: Twice a year or once a year?
SHERRIE: A lot of times, two. So it is one of those things that, you know, while yes, we don’t want to ignore them, wouldn’t we, as leaders, want to try to devote the time and this is what I kind of took away from that, is if I can take the time to truly understand where my strengths are, personally, and the strengths of those that I lead, then we could use those strengths and focus on their improvement there to get exponential business outcomes.
SHERRIE: You know? And just take advantage of those business outcomes and manage around our weaknesses. Because, again, I think it’s important as leaders we also strive to make everybody better, including ourselves, with each day. It’s a lifelong process, right? It’s a journey.
DONNA: Exactly, exactly.
SHERRIE: But, you-
DONNA: As hard as it is sometimes! It is a journey.
SHERRIE: I know, we never reach the pinnacle, right? Or at least we hope we don’t. And so it was one of those things that was really eye-opening to me and it has been interesting to see the growth, too, that we’ve even experienced by taking that shift, and looking at people, how they fit into the team, what strengths they bring to the table, so that when there are projects or you know, things that come along, challenges, it’s like, “who can we pull in that’s the strongest at this?” and it might you this time, me next time, the next person the next time, but it’s just it’s a concept of again, leading by strengths.
DONNA: Well, let me switch gears a little bit on you. I know that there’s a lot of people who are out there and they’re saying, “We need to recruit, we need to recruit great people, we want to get it right the first time,” so if I am looking for the right people, can you give me some tips about some things that I need to do?
SHERRIE: Sure! That’s my world, right?
DONNA: That’s why I asked you because not everybody does this, but not everybody hires a recruiter or a staffing agency to help them, so what kind of things can you tell those people?
SHERRIE: Sure, and really, the things that kind of come to mind would work in either way, right? But you’re right. And that’s one thing that sometimes we have to pull back and understand, that sometimes when people are hiring, that’s not something they do every day, where it is something we do every day. And so, that’s one thing we really strive to help people with. And one of the first things I would say as far as a tip to make sure that you do when you’re looking to hire, is come up with a job description and I’m not just talking pull the job description out of your file, you know, on your computer that’s been there for 10 years.
DONNA: And not updated.
SHERRIE: Or that HR has that was written, yes, and or, quite frankly, with some new companies, they don’t even have anything, right? It’s a new role, it’s a new position. So take the time on the front end to really force yourself to think through what the person will be doing.
SHERRIE: And not only what they’ll be doing but how it’s going to interact with other parts of the organization, you know, what skills it’s going to take. If they’re going to be behind a desk, you know, crunching data and numbers or are they going to be interacting, managing you know, projects? whatever it might be, to really think though, not only just the technical skills, but then also the, you know, nontechnical skills, o soft skills that are going to be needed there. And even down to maybe, percentages of time, like, the bulk of time, and I’m not saying every little detail, but 75% of the time, they’re going to be doing these three things. Then you kind of know, okay, here’s my wishlist. I need these ten things but if I could find these six, I could live with it because that’s going to meet that 75%.
DONNA: So you need to rank the order of those as well to know What are the most important.
– Right, because in today’s tight job market, and even in a non-tight job market, like we have today, sometimes you paint a picture of the perfect person that doesn’t exist, right? So you really have to know that you might have to flex some as you’re finding the talent and you’re going to want to find the best fit.
SHERRIE: To set that person up for success. Again, like we were talking about the strengths. What kind of strengths is it going to take to do the job and find somebody that has that natural ability and strengths because more than likely, they’re going to have the job satisfaction. They’re going to do well and excel in it.
DONNA: Well thank you so much for being here and giving us some, “hmm, what do we need to think about on our own if we want to talk to you or if we don’t want to talk to you and we want to try this alone first.” Great tips. Thank you so much.
SHERRIE: Oh, well I hope it’s helpful.