discover-strengths.jpgA popular new program for SMU students has become an innovative professional development opportunity for SMU employees. The Office of Human Resources will offer an introduction to StrengthsQuest among its Spring 2008 Professional Development Workshops. Read more.

Based on extensive research by The Gallup Organization and described in Marcus Buckingham’s best-seller Now, Discover Your Strengths, StrengthsQuest delivers a simple but radical new approach to professional success: Strive to develop your talents into strengths rather than focusing all your energy on eliminating your weaknesses.

Originally, Human Resources training facilitators studied Buckingham’s book and became familiar with the StrengthsQuest curriculum to help support the Office of Student Affairs, which had begun to offer the workshop to incoming students. But they quickly identified the course’s value to SMU staff and faculty members as well, says Lorea Belle Seidel, director of organizational effectiveness and assistant director of human resources. “In addition to helping them support student development, we wanted to help staff and faculty understand the benefits of these concepts for themselves as professionals,” she says.

StrengthsQuest uses positive-psychology tenets that focus on discovering talents and developing them into strengths. The program begins with an online assessment to identify an individual’s top “talent themes.”

“It’s very helpful information not just for managers of teams, but for team members to know about each other,” Seidel says. “It gives them a common language and a positive way to tap into the talents and strengths of others. It also helps managers plan to further develop the talents of their employees.”

The Introduction to StrengthsQuest course scheduled for Mar. 26 is already full with a waitlist, Seidel says, but Human Resources may add a second session in early summer if there is enough interest. To join the list, e-mail Lorea Belle Seidel.

Other workshops for Spring 2008 include the following:

All workshops are held in the Human Resources training center on the second floor of Expressway Tower. For more information, visit