Once upon a time there was a young woman who loved her job.

She couldn’t believe how lucky she was to be able to spring out of the bed in the morning excited to be going to work! (She knew from some of her friends’ experiences that not everyone felt that way.) She did so well in her job that she was promoted more quickly than she could have possibly imagined. She was over the moon. But… not for long. The problem? She was promoted into a job that was just not ‘her’. Within weeks she was utterly miserable. She felt like the proverbial square peg in a round hole.

That young girl was me in my twenties.

My experience of being promoted into a job that I was such a bad fit for affected me deeply. Not only was I unhappy, I lost my zest for work and my confidence plummeted. I knew my boss was trying hard to help me, but I just wasn’t cut out for the type of work the job demanded of me. My previous job had involved a lot of connection with people. I’d had to use my creativity to find new solutions to old problems, and I’d been frequently presented with new challenges. My main relationship in the new role was with spreadsheets and data. I hardly saw anyone from one day to another. Some people love this way of working. But I found it stifling and not at all energising.

However, one my strengths is positivity. Another is determination. My experience gave me a strong desire to understand how it is that people can be appointed to jobs that are so wrong for them, and to do something about it.

More than two decades later I am running a company whose mission is to help get people into jobs they love.

Our strengths-based approach to talent management is a win, win, win. It’s a win for the organisations, it’s a win for their employees, and it’s a win for their customers.

  • It’s the answer to people being happy at work
  • It’s the answer to people feeling valued for who they are
  • It’s the answer to people being appointed to jobs they love and in which they will thrive!

At our Engaging Minds team ‘away day’ this week, we were looking back at 2016. We created a poster showing last year’s highlights:

More and more top organisations adopting a strengths approach; the publication of the first book on strengths-based recruitment and development; the launch of our online Strengthsmatch™ Strengths Assessment Tools, a CIPD award for Best HR/L&D Consultancy; the launch of our YouTube channel where our clients talk about the benefits of focusing on strengths.

It’s incredible how that one miserable early-career experience, of me being promoted into the ‘wrong job ‘, has led to something more positive than I ever could have dreamed of. My story makes me proud, and celebrating it this week with my team has spurred us all on to do even more, even faster, to progress our mission.

If you want to make a difference to how happy people are at work please tell them about the strengths revolution. It changes lives.

Sally Bibb’s book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results (the first on the subject) is published by Kogan Page.

SBRD Sally Bibb book
Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
Sally Bibb is the author of Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results and The Strengths Book: Discover How to Be Fulfilled in Your Work and in Life, and is a leading strengths expert.