We have all taken an assessment at some point in our lives – in school while evaluating career options, during an interview process, or as part of a team-building event at work. Maybe you take assessments for fun or personal development.

There are literally hundreds of assessments out there and all of them exist to tell us more about ourselves. They explain your personality, your communication style, or simply provide some advice on how to apply what you learn.

Whether you’re an assessment novice or pro, here are 7 things you may not have known about CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder).

1. CliftonStrengths measures how you best operate.

CliftonStrengths’ main emphasis is to help you see your unique strengths (measured on 34 distinct strengths). It measures your predominant strengths, or innate talents, and how to best use these strengths in all you do. It helps you understand how you best operate and respond to situations while maximizing effort for optimal results. The assessment helps you identify how to increase your individual and team efficiency and effectiveness.

2. Strengths do not “pigeon hole” you.

Many people have a fear of assessment, partially because many people use them incorrectly. People fear if they do not get a certain result, they will not get a dream job or promotion. The liberating result of CliftonStrengths is that strengths DO NOT determine what you do. No strengths are better or worse. They are all neutral.

No strengths make a better student, teacher, attorney, salesperson, leader, or machine operator. Strengths simply help you understand HOW you will approach that role. Strengths do not limit you, but rather they free you for unlimited career exploration.

3. CliftonStrengths emphasizes that people are not replaceable.

In many organizations, people feel like a number. Many leaders have the attitude that “if you quit, I’ll easily find someone else to replace you.”  While it may be true that they can fill the seat, they are replacing the position, not the person.

With CliftonStrengths the chance of someone having the same top 5 strengths as you is 1 in 275,000. Having those 5 strengths in the same order is 1 in 33,000,000 (33 million!). The chance of having all 34 strengths in the same order as someone else (because you do have all 34 strengths in which you are assessed but the diminishing return on results the lower you go in your order) would be like winning the lottery, meaning it is not going to happen. You truly are (more than) 1 in a million!

Many other assessments put you in as few as 4 buckets. That means you have a 25% chance of being categorized as someone else. This simply isn’t the case. We are all unique and CliftonStrengths helps us to understand these differences.

4. Strengths help you manage your energy.

We often hear people talk about improving time management when they are busy. However, busy does not necessarily mean productive or exhausted.  By focusing on your top strengths, you are performing without little effort or energy. This means you can exert 20% energy to get 80% of your work done. You were busy, but it was effortless, so you were productive and your energy level is still high.

Conversely, if you are tasked to do things outside of your strengths, you will do them because you are tasked with them, but you dread doing them, struggle to make progress, and find yourself exerting 80% of your energy and only seeing 20% progress. At the end of the day, you are exhausted and thinking of reasons to skip work the next day in hopes of the project magically disappearing.

When you find yourself more exhausted than normal, pause to identify why. How can you shift what you are doing so you are using your strengths and managing your energy.

5. Strengths are only strengths when they’re strengths for others (SFO).

Once you know your strengths, you want to help others use their strengths. How can you use your strengths for the betterment of the team and organization, rather than being purely self-serving? Do not focus on a “mini-me” mentality. Embrace everyone’s unique strengths and empower them to use their strengths rather than being like you. As you help people to use their strengths, and those people do the same, you will now have greater synergy, productivity, and engagement for the entire organization.

6. Positive psychology works.

Are you ready to embrace your strengths and take weakness out of your vocabulary? Focus on what is strong, not what is wrong. As you focus on your strengths, you are empowered to be yourself. You can replace “weakness” with “partner-up opportunities.” There are people on your team who love doing what you don’t, and vice versa. Acknowledge everyone’s strengths for a high-performing team and align your team with the actions and responsibilities which truly fit their strengths.

7. A focus on strengths significantly increases engagement.

According to Gallup, about 30% of the US workforce is engaged. That means 70% are not engaged in their work. They likely go to work to collect a paycheck, countdown to retirement, and complain daily.

However, another Gallup study shows that when organizations focus on strengths and lead with strengths, engagement jumps to 73%. How much more could you and your team achieve if everyone was excited to do their job? Goals would be met. Morale would be high. The environment would be contagious.

Partner2Learn’s unique approach to CliftonStrengths.

While Partner2Learn uses Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment as a starting point, we take it a step further and provide our own proprietary reporting that goes deeper. Some features include:

  • Placing the 34 strengths into our 8 unique categories (different than Gallup’s 4 domains) to provide you and your team in-depth insights to improved effectiveness and engagement
  • Combination factors of multiple strengths resulting in unique outcomes that are not always accentuated or understood
  • Focuses on positive psychology to embrace who you are, rather than try to shape you into something you are not, for high-impact leadership
  • How you work best with others through partner-up opportunities to ensure engagement and efficiency with the entire time

Partner for results.

Whether you want to decrease turnover, improve team culture, meet your goals, or have a fun yet purposeful team-building experience, take the first step at building a StrengthsFirst culture. Contact us today.

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