The Power of Discovering and Working In Your Strengths

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Eight years ago, I registered for a Clifton StrengthsFinder (now known as Gallup CliftonStrengths) certification course in Washington, DC.

Little did I know how much my life, marriage, parenting and coaching practice would change after this class ended. 

I was fortunate to be trained by the late Curt Liesveld, who wrote much of the Theme Dynamic work in the recent CliftonStrengths book. To say I drank the Kool-Aid would be an understatement.

There are 277+ personality assessments. Each assessment tells you something about human behavior. Some tell you about motivations, childhood wounds, stressed vs. stretched, and many about personality.

CliftonStrengths is different from the others because it spells out specifically HOW you get things done — how you build relationships, how you influence people, how you start projects, and how you finish them.

There are 34 talents and Don Clifton discovered the language and definition around each of them. In 1950, he had the foresight to create an assessment that focused on what is right with people, rather than what is wrong.

This move towards Positive Psychology revolutionized the workforce because, for the first time, people were being reminded about how GOOD they are, while also being encouraged to leverage this good — both at work and at home.

As of this writing 30 million people have taken the CliftonStrengths assessment. And yet, only 1 in 3.2 million have the same top 5 strengths (Themes) in the same order. With this much data, it’s not hard to see how unique each individual is.

Here are some Guiding principles about CliftonStrengths that are important to remember:

  1. Your strengths are neutral. They are not positive or negative. You can use your strengths for good or evil but they are neutral.
  2. Your strengths are not labels. Anytime a person uses one word to describe someone, that is a label. CliftonStrenghts talents are deep, complex and unique. It would be hard to use one word to describe a talent, much less a person.
  3. Leading with a positive intent is important if you are going to use CliftonStrengths to understand human behavior. The talents could be regulated, experienced or mature or they might be raw, immature and unregulated. Leading with positivity helps you to remember to keep your biases about other individuals in check.
  4. Differences are advantages with CliftonStrengths. The greater diversity of strengths you have on your team, the better and more innovative your team will be.
  5. People need each other. We each are only good at about 5 things, so using CliftonStrengths can help you supply what you are good at and rely on someone else for what they are good at. People feel needed when this is the philosophy on a team.


Our June Newsletter will be dedicated to all things strengths. We hope you will enjoy the information and reflect on, become reacquainted with, or reach out to discover your own CliftonStrengths talents.

We are here to help you discover how to best aim or leverage your talents within your current position and within your team. Schedule your free consultation today! Let’s connect.

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