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About Clifton Strengths

by | Apr 11, 2022 | Strengths

There are a variety of strengths frameworks out there that people can use to get insights into their personal DNA and how they can get to be the best version of themselves and lead a happy and fulfilling life.

One of those is Gallup’s Clifton Strengths 34 Assessment.

That started decades ago from a question asked by an American psychology professor by the name of Don Clifton and the question was: “What would happen if we studied what was right with people versus what’s wrong with people?”

His work eventually led to the launch of the Clifton Strengths assessment in 1999 and since then over 25 million people have undertaken the assessment.

What does it look like?

There are 4 domains, each with 8-9 themes in them:

  1. Executing: “People with dominant Executing themes make things happen” with themes of Achiever, Arranger, Belief, Consistency, Deliberative, Discipline, Focus, Responsibility, Restorative.
  2. Influencing: “People with dominant Influencing themes take charge, speak up and make sure others are heard.” with themes of Activator, Command, Communication, Competition, Maximiser, Self-assurance, Significance, Woo.
  3. Relationship building: “People with dominant Relationship Building themes build strong relationships that hold a team together and make it greater than the sum of its parts.” with themes of Adaptability, Connectedness, Developer, Empathy, Includer, Individualisation, Positivity, Relator
    4. Strategic thinking: “People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes absorb and analyse information that informs better decisions.” with themes of Analytical, Context, Futuristic, Ideation, Input, Intellection, Learner, Strategic.

What does the assessment tell you?

Your survey responses generate a report that tells you what your strengths are with the themes ranked in order from 1 (your strongest) to 34 (your weakest).

In my case, the top 5 (signature) strengths are:

  1. Strategic: someone who creates alternative ways to proceed, quickly spotting relevant patterns and issues.
  2. Maximiser: someone who focuses on strengths as way to transform something strong into something superb.\
  3. Ideation: someone who is fascinated by ideas and able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  4. Empathy: someone who can sense other people’s feelings by imagining themselves in others’ lives or situations.
  5. Self-assurance: someone who feels confident in their ability to take risks and manage their own lives.

What does that mean for me?

Gallup advocates that getting to use your strengths is one of the most important things that you can do for high performance and wellbeing and we agree. That is why strengths is one of the five lenses through which we deliver our EngageMentality coaching.

For me, the Clifton Strengths 34 assessment delivered:

1. Similar results to what I got from the VIA Character Strengths survey which is reassuring
2. Different perspectives on my strengths due to the different classifications of strengths (“Domains” and “Themes” as opposed to VIA’s “Virtues” and “Character Strengths”)
3. A stimulant and reference point to review my VIA Character Strengths in the context of my Clifton Strengths results
4. My dominant domains were “strategic thinking” and “Influencing” which provided affirmation about my vocation, my leadership style and the reasons for our success in people and culture consulting.


For an investment of about 80AUD, you get a comprehensive Strengths 34 report which provides lots of feedback on your strengths profile and guidance in understanding your strengths profile and how to use them.

I found it was a good return on investment.

Also see our posts on VIA Character Strengths and Sharetree.

If you would like to know more about implementing a strengths-based approach in your business, contact us on 0438 533 311 or at



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