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10 Oct 20235 min read

Gallup's CliftonStrengths® Assessment

Gallup's CliftonStrengths® Assessment: A Great Strengths Assessment Tool

The CliftonStrengths® assessment report is aimed at individuals to help them uncover their own unique strength DNA by ranking 34 talents. The 34 talents are split into four different domains; Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking.

Tried and tested positive psychology applied to uncover your individual unique strengths profile

We use and recommend Gallup’s CliftonStrengths® assessment to help individuals and teams understand and harness their strengths (or 'talents' as Gallup refers to untapped strengths).

Over 30 million people worldwide have used the CliftonStrengths® assessment to help them identify their strengths and use the insights provided in their assessment report to develop and ‘lean into’ their own unique combination of strengths.

The positive psychology underpinning the CliftonStrengths® assessment is very powerful, and based on the work done by the American psychologist Don Clifton (recognised in 2018 by the American Psychological Association as “the father of strengths-based psychology and the grandfather of positive psychology”. The key empowering concepts are around focusing on what is ‘right’ with people and trying to spend more time and energy working in these areas, rather than trying to ‘fix’ things which are not aligned to someone’s strengths (an often more traditional approach to performance and management).

There are other strengths-based approaches and assessment providers, but to date, we have found CliftonStrengths® to be the most comprehensive and versatile irrespective of the role and industry of the individual.

There is a cost to taking the CliftonStrengths® assessment, but we believe this is more than worthwhile assessment, where the assessment report is then utilised properly. We advocate implementing a strengths-based approach into your teams, departments and organisation, and the assessment is just the minimum starting point for any individual you recruit or wish to bring on this journey. 

When used properly, it can be one of the most cost effective and impactful investments you make for any employee.

How the CliftonStrengths® assessment works 

Anyone can take the CliftonStrengths® assessment, and there’s no preparation required. During the assessment, you’ll be shown 177 statements, which you’ll respond to in accordance with how strongly you align with the statement. You’ll be given only twenty seconds to select your response, at which point you’ll automatically be forwarded to the next statement. The assessment is designed to prompt intuitive responses, rather than well-thought-out answers. 

There are no right or wrong answers in CliftonStrengths®, only answers that are correct for you. CliftonStrengths® then sorts your answers into 34 different themes under four different umbrellas: relationship building, strategic thinking, influencing, and executing. Once the assessment is complete, you’ll get a report outlining your five key strengths, why they’re good, what they mean in a working environment, and how you can develop and maximise the strengths. 

CliftonStrengths aims to help the individual know themselves better, but it also offers practical guidance on how to apply this new information to your career. 

The benefits of a strengths-based approach

Strength-based assessments have been around for a while. Gallup’s CliftonStrengths® is far from the only strength-based approach, but it is one of the most popular, and there have been numerous studies that have backed the approach as a method for individual performance.

The virtue of strength-based approaches lies, in part, in their positive focus. Other assessments often highlight the individual’s weaknesses and encourage improvement in those areas. With CliftonStrengths®, weaknesses are left on the shelf. Instead, the individual is encouraged to focus on maximising their existing assets. It provides self-awareness about the positive skills an individual already possesses but may be unaware of. 

The outcome of that self-knowledge can be profound. It can push employees currently dissatisfied with their jobs to pursue employment that is more in line with their skill set, make employees happier and more engaged at work, and all-around enhance productivity and quality of output. 

Despite the relatively low time investment required for the CliftonStrengths® assessment (it takes under an hour), it can have a profound impact on individuals, teams, and businesses.

Tips for Taking the CliftonStrengths® Assessment

You’ll often hear people refer to the CliftonStrengths® assessment as a ‘test,’ but it’s really not - it’s just what the name says it is: an assessment. As such, you can’t pass or fail. It’s just a way to discover more about yourself. 

Still, there are tips to keep in mind when taking the assessment. 

Set Aside Time

There are 177 questions in the CliftonStrengths® assessment, for which you will be given twenty seconds each to answer before it automatically moves to the next question. It’s recommended to set aside enough time (30 - 60 minutes) to complete the test in one sitting, ideally in an environment where you’re unlikely to be interrupted. 

Forget Preparation

This will be one of the few assessments you take in your life where it’s better not to prepare. Knowing the questions ahead of time won’t help in any meaningful way. 

Trust Your Gut

The CliftonStrengths® assessment is there to assess who you really are, and there’s no better holder of that information than your gut. There’s no reason to overthink when taking the assessment. Simply reach the question and go with whichever answer instinctively feels correct for you. 

Be True

There’s no such as the right answer to a CliftonStrengths® assessment question. Only the one that’s right for you. Even if you wish you could answer differently, it’s essential to answer honestly. It’s the only answer that will help you in the long run. 

Maximising the Results of the CliftonStrengths® Assessment 

Taking the CliftonStrengths® assessment isn’t the end of the journey — it’s just the beginning. Once you have insight into your strengths, you’ll be in a prime position to reach your full potential.

There’s no single way to do this. A good starting point, however, is to read the ‘Take Action to Maximise Your Potential’ part of your CliftonStrengths® report. Focusing on those will help to develop your existing skills. From there, it’s about consciously engaging with yourself periodically. 

Final thoughts

Much research has been conducted on the power of assessment tools based on positive psychology, which has shown tools such as the CliftonStrengths® assessment to be highly beneficial for enhancing individual and team performance. While the assessment won’t do all the work, it does provide an effective starting point for development and improvement. To maximise the results of the assessment, it’s recommended to use the CliftonStrengths®-prompted action points, read up on your specific strengths and how to utilise them and work with a coach with specific experience in developing CliftonStrengths® strengths.


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