Keeping your resolutions

A University of Scranton study on New Year’s resolutions reports that 2/3 of Americans make one. 47% of these are “self-improvement or education related.” The study found that only 8% are successful in achieving their resolution!

Many New Year’s resolutions are aimed at correcting our deficiencies or shortcomings. So is it any wonder that 92% fail? We’re highly unlikely to stick with a personal development plan focused on something we’re not good at and don’t enjoy doing.

For over a decade Zenger Folkman has been breaking new ground in leadership development built with strengths-based 360 assessments and development approaches. Many Clients have run 360 follow up assessments on leaders who built personal development plans around their initial feedback. Those reassessments show that the people around that leader — direct reports, manager, peers, and others — rate improvement in the leader’s effectiveness 2 to 3 times higher when the leader is building his or her strengths versus fixing a weakness.

ZF surveyed participants to drill deeper into why there’s such a dramatic improvement in using a strengths-based approach. This chart contrasts participant responses to four key questions between those leaders who worked to build strengths and leaders who clung to traditional weakness fixing approaches:

The Powerful Impact of Building Strengths

Executives respond to these statements:

Build Strength

Fix Weakness
I have created an excellent development plan that will guide my efforts to improve.



As a result of my use of the 360 feedback process, report, and tools, I feel that I have improved my overall leadership effectiveness. 72% 38%
I feel that I have moved forward on improving specific issues on my development plan. 68% 43%
I have taken the time and made a real effort to work on my development plan. 60% 38%

Building on the leadership strengths others see in us rather than fixing weaknesses is clearly much more sustainable — and a lot more fun!

Tomorrow we publish my December blog posts as the January issue of The Leader Letter. May this new issue of this New Year bring you some fun and help you focus on developing the personal, team, and organizational strengths that will sustain your development resolutions in 2015.