I’ve got a test for you.
Think about these words:
- Relationship building
- Strategic thinking
Which describes your greatest strength? There’s no wrong answer because it’s about how you feel. What drives you. Your mojo.
Sound like your kind of test? Mine too.
The CliftonStrengths assessment is named after its inventor, Dr. Don Clifton (1924-2003). Clifton was a famous psychologist who determined there are 34 personality tendencies. The assessment finds the top five tendencies that you lead with and where your greatest potential lies. These strengths are grouped into four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. The assessment and results are all backed by over 50 years of Gallup data. Giddyup.
“What would happen if we studied what was right with people?”
– Dr. Don Clifton
CliftonStrengths focuses on changing the mindset of leaders who spend valuable resources on fixing what is wrong with people. Why do we stick staff in hours of training, or roles that will never play to their strengths and only frustrate them? Why not focus on their talents instead? Used by everyone from Fortune 1000 companies to mom-and-pop shops, the CliftonStrengths test is key to retaining motivated leaders, engaged employees, and happy clients.
How does the CliftonStrengths test work?
To access the assessment, Gallup offers a variety of options. Once you take the test, you’ll receive resources and tools to learn more about your strengths and how to apply them. This works best if your entire team, from top to bottom, participates.
Next, review everyone’s results and have them talk it out. You may find some surprises. Perhaps quiet Connie in the corner shows high in Ideation strength, but you’ve never once tapped her for a brainstorming session. Or demanding Dave is actually a big squishy teddy bear who is strong in the Empathy and Includer category.
|People with dominant Executing themes know how to make things happen.||People with dominant Influencing themes know how to take charge, speak up, and make sure the team is heard.||People with dominant Relationship Building themes have the ability to build strong relationships that can hold a team together and make the team greater than the sum of its parts.||People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes help teams consider what could be. They absorb and analyze information that can inform better decisions.|
When forming teams, think about who’s Restorative and thrives on solving problems. Who can bring Harmony to the team? Perhaps someone is stronger in the Context strength and can bring deeper insight into a project. Remember, there is no one way to lead.
For your own personal development, create an action plan for developing your strengths further. Talk with your manager or mentor about ways you can focus more on your talents. Teams aren’t always filled with rainbows and happy little trees, so if you’re butting heads with someone, revisit their personality profile and adjust accordingly. Grab a beer and discuss how you can work better together.
CliftonStrengths is key to our culture at Outmark®
It’s fun to be good.® So anytime we hire a new team member, they get some fresh Outmark swag, a taco lunch, and a copy of “StrengthsFinder.” After they take the assessment, they import their results into our beautifully color-coded spreadsheet where we compare and contrast the entire team’s profiles. We look for similarities, talk about how we can best work with that person, and think about how the team can play off their strengths.
If someone is blocking progress on a project, we revisit their personality profile and look for opportunities instead of focusing on the negatives. We review someone’s CliftonStrengths profile every two weeks at our team meeting and if it’s been a few years, we’ll take the assessment again.
“Ask yourself this question right now: Are you building a career and life through attempting to fix your weaknesses or through developing and applying your strengths?”
-Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup
Well, are you?