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Monday, September 24, 2012

Reintroducing Gallup's Strategic Consulting

Gallup is reintroducing itself to the world via its new Strategic Consulting website.

As Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton puts it, "Today's CEOs and world leaders face brutal new challenges..." -- ones that can't be addressed with outdated metrics and thinking.

Gallup helps chief executives and world leaders to lead differently by providing leadership advice and strategy backed by proven models for growth and a global research infrastructure.

Gallup's new Strategic Consulting website provides the latest insights for leaders from Gallup's research, as well as 14 knowledge centers focused on our core areas of expertise:

We have also added new regional pages for our growing international audiences:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Race to the Top: Start With Strengths

By Connie Rath, Dean, Gallup Education 

Every student is unique -- each has a set of talents and goals that, if recognized and cultivated, will lead them to achieve long-term success and a fulfilling future.

But many U.S. schools are missing the mark on helping students discover and maximize their unique talents. Less than half of America’s students strongly agree that they get to do what they do best every day, according to the Gallup Student Poll. That means millions of students are focusing on the wrong things, while their talents are languishing unnoticed -- likely leaving them bored and frustrated. What these young scholars need is help understanding and developing what it is they are really good at -- a personalized approach to how and what they need to learn.

In essence, today’s students need to know what their strengths are -- and education leaders need to teach students how to use these strengths.

Now, it seems, the U.S. government is catching on to just that. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education announced a new twist on its $400 million Race to the Top competitive federal grant program for schools -- it opened the program up to individual school districts, instead of only allowing states to apply. According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the goal is to focus on the classroom level and “personalize education” while taking classrooms “beyond a one-size-fits-all model.” The emphasis is on “the all-important relationship among teachers and students,” said Duncan.

As districts prepare to compete for the Race to the Top awards, they will need to answer the question: “How do schools create personalized plans for students?”

The key, from what Gallup knows, is to build education plans that match up with each student’s unique strengths. Then, give students opportunities to use their strengths to accomplish schoolwork, prepare for college, and train for the work world.

When students feel their school pays attention to their strengths, student engagement rises significantly. Gallup has studied schools across the country with the highest levels of student engagement – defined as students who are engaged in and enthusiastic about their schoolwork. Engaged schools find a way to help students do what they do best every day. When students know what they do best and have an opportunity to do it, they are more engaged with school. Gallup research shows over eight in 10 students who strongly agree that their school is committed to building the strengths of each student are engaged in school. The leaders of these schools developed ways to appeal to student interests during the school week -- some schools offer a wide range of after-school activities and clubs, while others provide work experience at school or in the community.

What the nation needs are more of these strengths-based schools. Here’s how districts can build them:

  • Start With Strengths: Start now with a campaign for every student and educator to know their strengths and create a plan to put them to use. Ensure students have strengths advisers, clear goals, and access to a wide range of online educational resources and experiences that match with their unique strengths. Outlining an in-depth plan can reinforce important academic goals and stimulate interests and talents.
  • Monitor Hope, Engagement, and Wellbeing: When students know and use their strengths, they rate themselves and their schools higher on these three factors. Good schools can get better by participating at no cost in the Gallup Student Poll, which gauges student hope, engagement, and wellbeing. Schools receive scores reflecting students’ perceptions of these key metrics and leaders can use this information to target areas in need of improvement.
  • Apply Strengths to College and Work: Middle school is the right time for students to see their future possibilities. They can discover what they do well, and explore what they want to do in the future by discussing their unique talents and then planning experiences to test and practice them. 
Washington may be providing an impetus for focusing on personalized education, but this will not happen because of Washington alone. It will happen because school leaders, teachers, parents, and students insist on working together to develop creative pathways to personal achievement.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton to Answer Your Questions

Creating good jobs is tough, and many leaders are doing many of the wrong things. They're undercutting entrepreneurs instead of cultivating them. They're running companies with depressed workforces. They're letting the next generation of job creators rot in bad schools.

Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton will address these issues and answer timely questions about entrepreneurship, job creation, and the best strategies for getting America’s workforce back on track in a webinar on Thursday, Sept. 20. Clifton will also discuss the future of U.S. unemployment, reveal the right path for the future of education, and share insights from his recent book, The Coming Jobs War.

Clifton sees the nation’s top 100 cities, top 100 universities, and 10,000 local “tribe leaders” as critical to getting things done in their communities. Within these groups, he sees students and local community leaders as valuable partners in moving America forward.

Kaplan University will interview Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton as part of Kaplan University’s Visionary Voices series, which seeks to inspire students and the community by having top thought leaders share their knowledge and expertise.

The live webinar begins at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 20. To register for this free webinar, click here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Single Best Chart

Bloomberg TV is excited about Gallup's new Payroll to Population employment metric -- featuring the data in its "Single Best Chart" segment.

Watch Bloomberg's Sara Eisen discuss the new metric and how it relates to GDP -- and find out what percentage of the world's adult population is employed full time for an employer.


Gallup will release U.S. Payroll to Population data by demographic group next week. And you can track the U.S. Payroll to Population rate daily here.

Visit The Chairman's Blog to read about the Payroll to Population employment metric and how it differs from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' unemployment metric.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Seven Reasons to Lead With Strengths

By Jim Asplund, Chief Scientist, Strengths-Based Development

The success of the people you lead -- and your entire organization -- depends on the development of their strengths.

Conventional wisdom focuses on fixing weaknesses. Unfortunately, that “wisdom” leaves individuals and organizations struggling on the path to mediocrity.

The best-led organizations know that the direct path to individual, team, and organizational success begins with a primary investment in their employees’ greatest talents. The best leaders find what is naturally right with their people and build on it.

Strengths are the innate traits and abilities people use in their daily lives to complete their work, relate with others, and achieve their goals. Decades of Gallup research demonstrates the benefits of creating a strengths-based organization.

  1. If a manager primarily focuses on an employee’s strengths, the likelihood that employee will be actively disengaged is 1%.
  2. If a manager primarily focuses on an employee’s weaknesses, the likelihood that employee will be actively disengaged is 22%.
  3. People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.
  4. Teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity.
  5. Teams that receive strengths feedback have 8.9% greater profitability.
  6. Among employees who received strengths feedback, turnover rates were 14.9% lower than for those who did not.
  7. An employee who regularly applies her strengths is 6.2 times as likely to strongly agree that she has the opportunity to do what she does best every day.
Gallup just launched the Gallup Strengths Center to make strengths a lot more accessible for forward-thinking business leaders, coaches, and individuals worldwide who want to maximize their potential and improve their organization’s performance.

In the past, coaches and individuals had to buy one of Gallup’s best-selling books to get a code to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder -- our online assessment that uncovers, in rank order, a person’s top talents out of 34 themes. Now coaches, leaders, and individuals can buy codes directly from the Web.

Here are the new strengths solutions available to individuals, coaches, and leaders:
  • Strengths Discovery Package: Individuals will discover their top five most dominant strengths and learn how their "signature strengths" help them excel. They will recognize the unique traits that make them who they are and begin their path to better performance and higher engagement.
  • Strengths Development Package: Individuals will uncover their complete strengths profile, including the relative intensity of each of their 34 strengths. This knowledge will help them understand how to maximize their effectiveness and achieve success. They will also improve their relationships by learning to identify the strengths inherent in everyone.
  • Strengths Coaching Starter Kit: Gallup's Strengths Coaching Starter Kit will introduce you to what it means to coach others about strengths, and start you on your path to becoming an effective coach. You'll learn how to establish coaching relationships, understand an individual's complete strengths profile, identify talents in action, and help others invest in their talents to build their strengths.
  • Fundamentals of Strengths Coaching Course: This three-day course gives aspiring coaches instruction and deeper insight into becoming an effective coach. Led by Gallup's own qualified experts, this course is vital to anyone serious about coaching others about strengths.
For more information, visit the Gallup Strengths Center.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Vast Untapped Financial Services Market

By Jan Sonnenschein, Consulting Specialist

The market for financial services in sub-Saharan Africa is significant and remains largely untapped. The large number of people in the region sending informal cash payments or not sending money at all because of the hassle, high costs, and risks of informal mechanisms represents a major opportunity for providers of mobile money or similar services.

These findings are from the analysis, Payments and Money Transfer Behavior of Sub-Saharan Africans, produced by Gallup and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The study sought to better understand how sub-Saharan Africans manage their money, with a special focus on the payment behavior of the poorest parts of the population and those living in rural areas. Through its World Poll, Gallup conducted nationally representative surveys in 11 African nations from June to October 2011 about respondents’ payment behaviors through services such as money transfers, international remittances, government and wage payments, utilities, and other bills.

Here are some of the top findings and policy implications from this research initiative:

  • About 79 million adults (31% of all adults) in the 11 sub-Saharan countries surveyed use only informal cash payments.
  • Even affluent groups, with the exception of university graduates, were more likely to only send money in cash by bus, courier, or in person than to exclusively use electronic channels (bank transfers, mobile-based transactions, or money transfer services such as Western Union). This emphasizes the need for improved financial services among all socio-demographic groups.
  • Nigeria -- the most populous country in Africa -- offers especially exciting investment opportunities for providers of financial services. Nigeria alone has an estimated 34.8 million consumers who are using only informal cash payment options.
  • While development policy has focused largely on international remittances in recent years, the rate of domestic remittances in all sub-Saharan countries surveyed exceeds that of international remittances, occasionally by a high multiple.
  • Two-thirds of Kenyans who had sent money to family members or friends living in a different city or area in Kenya sent the money via a mobile phone. Uganda and Tanzania were second and third most likely (43% and 32% of remittance senders, respectively) to report mobile phone-based transactions.
  • In all countries with the exception of Mali, a majority of people had access to a mobile phone -- they either owned one or could use the phone of a neighbor, friend, or relative. This suggests that the introduction or extension of mobile phone transfer systems would have the potential to simplify the lives of millions of sub-Saharan Africans.
For more in-depth findings and policy recommendations on this topic, read Payments and Money Transfer Behavior of Sub-Saharan Africans.

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