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Are My CliftonStrengths Results Wrong?

My recent posts about CliftonStrengths strengths results have prompted several questions from the community. Two stood out to me because I get asked these a lot. This week, I’ll answer the first of the two.

Question No. 1: Are My CliftonStrengths Results Wrong?

I occasionally hear, “I don’t think these are my Strengths. How could I not have X, Y, or Z?” So, are your CliftonStrengths results wrong? No, and here’s why.

Most of the time, people take the CliftonStrengths assessment and aren’t too surprised with their Top 5 Strengths results. It offers insights, clarity, and affirmation of how they are wired and where they shine.

Occasionally, some people review their Top 5 and are frustrated with the results because they expected them to be different.

“How could I not have Strategic?? I am very strategic!”

So let me explain a few things for anyone out there who is wrestling with their Top 5.

1. There Are *A Lot* Of Strengths on the List

There are a total of 34 CliftonStrengths/talents. When you take the assessment, it ranks all 34 talents from 1-34 based on your answers to the questions. This is known as the “rank order.” Just because a Strength isn’t in your Top 5, doesn’t mean it’s not a Strength of yours.

The original assessment only unlocked the Top 5 Strengths. Over the years, other options have been added. Now, for an additional fee, you can unlock the top 10 or all 34.

2. Your Other Strengths Might Be on the List — Just Lower

So if you have you feel frustrated that you think some Strengths are “missing” or that the results don’t seem to completely reflect your true talents, know this.

What you can’t see is how close numbers 6, 7, 8, etc. were to number 5. In fact, numbers 5 and 6 could have been a tie, but the system will only select one of them.

If you did take the next step to unlock the Top 10, I bet you’d see the Strengths you thought were missing. ;)

3. You Might Find New Strengths Next Time

If you’ve retaken the assessment and some new Strengths appeared that weren’t on the first assessment, then I’m guessing one or two of your next Strengths/talents bubbled up. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Now… let me be clear… it should not be necessary to retake the assessment (unless you took it as a young student, for example). You is who you is.

What can change are the conditions or opportunities we are given to use and hone our Strengths. So a certain job may require you to tap into some of those next Strengths. This is called “functional order,” which is the order that arises because of how we actually use our Strengths in our job, personal life, etc.

Should I Unlock My Top 10 Strengths?

I think there’s merit in unlocking the Top 10 for the truly curious who are losing sleep over this. I unlocked my Top 10 a few years ago and found it interesting to see my next five and realize I’d been using them in a variety of ways. Cool. It did feel more complete to me.

What About My Top 34 Strengths?

As far as unlocking all 34, I would offer one note of caution. Every person I know who unlocks all 34 immediately goes straight to the bottom of the list to see what they are “the worst” at. One client recently shared that Empathy was dead last for her, and that was all she could think about.

This is EXACTLY the opposite of the intention behind this brilliant assessment which is to help people celebrate what is right about them! It requires far less time and energy to focus on what we’re naturally good at, as opposed to improving something that we are not.

Ready to Learn More?

If you’re ready to learn your team’s Strengths, deep dive into your team’s CliftonStrengths results, and learn how your team can work better together, contact me.

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Hi! I’m Michele.

I’m passionate about educating and equipping teams with the tools to strengthen the operations and structure of an organization. My method is designed to create clarity, alignment and growth within your company.

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