Often, people treat a CliftonStrengths assessment like a magic wand. They want me to wave the wand and make people more engaged or less of a pain or a better spouse. The assessment does many things; but, there are some gaps that it cannot answer.
1. It doesn’t tell how someone grew up. What was their home life like? Did they move around a lot? Did they have an issue with their dad or mom? Did they grow up with a single parent? Strengths do not change with context, but context can mold and grow a talent. Ex. Someone who grows up with an alcoholic father might have a sharper Empathy talent. They could have become accustomed to using the talent to determine what kind of mood their dad was in when he arrived home.
2. It doesn’t evaluate the congruency of a person. Do they use their talents for good or for evil? Do they act one way around some people and then change when they are around someone else? Are they self-promoting or self-protecting? Ex. The Activator talent is great for getting projects and ideas off the ground, but it can be a bit opportunistic, meaning it will often use “popular” or “successful” people to climb the ladder without caring how the behavior is perceived.
3. It doesn’t show how consistently the talent appears. How regulated are the talents? Does one strength overpower the others? How often do they appear in the balcony or the basement? Is the strength productive? Have they learned how to self-regulate? Ex. The Developer talent loves to see people grow their potential. But when unregulated, it pushes people to grow who are not open to it, nor in need of a lecture. When regulated, it will provide growth advice only when the person asks for it.
Using the CliftonStrengths assessment can uncover many unconscious biases we have towards others, it can provide a language for your talents, it can direct you to better alignment within your company, and it can grow your ability to self-regulate the way you show up in conversations…just to name a few. However, each of these areas of potential require intentional effort on the part of the individual. Self-development may not be as simple as a wave of a magic wand, but beginning with the knowledge of one’s innate talents can put you on the right path.
For a more in depth list, please contact our office and we can send you 22 Reasons to use Clifton Strengths within your organization.