A Beginner's Guide to the CliftonStrengths

September 4, 2023

Struggling to establish the foundations of a thriving business?

Your company should have strong financial reserves, a comprehensive business plan, and a visionary leadership team — don’t underestimate the value of having a strengths-based team too!

Imagine your team as a puzzle: each piece is different and unique as it is. As the leader of the company, you are in charge of finding the right pieces and putting them together in order to form a complete picture. 

Most entrepreneurs are aware that they need a strong team to move their business forward, but they have trouble finding the right individuals — that’s where the CliftonStrengths Assessment is useful!

What is the CliftonStrengths Assessment?

The CliftonStrengths assessment is a performance-based tool that helps individuals discover their top five strengths and is a useful tool to improve company culture and performance in organizations.

Unlike personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs or Enneagram, the CliftonStrengths assessment isn't about personality. It focuses on uncovering your unique talents to boost self-awareness and personal growth. 

Most personality tests offer generalized feedback, like whether you’re introverted or extroverted, which can be difficult to apply in real life. Contrastingly, the CliftonStrengths assessment gives you precise results that you can directly apply to your daily life, whether it's in your personal or professional endeavors.

How does the CliftonStrengths Assessment work?

It’s simple: you just have to grade each statement on its accuracy in describing you and wait for your results. You'll receive a comprehensive report that identifies your CliftonStrengths in 4 domains, their potential to aid your success, and strategies to optimize your potential. 

Understanding your innate talents alone is not enough — it’s time for you to channel them into actions to make success a reality. You should consider having a professional Strengths coach guide you in activating your strengths in your career, relationships, or even in life.

Here are the 4 domains and their respective CliftonStrengths:

What do these domains mean?

  1. Executing

Every team has goals to achieve and work to accomplish.

Those who score well in this domain are the ones who make things happen with concrete actions. They're the type of individuals who will roll up their sleeves, identify what needs to be done, and put in the effort to do it well. 

They are committed to achieving productivity: driven to finish tasks, projects, and goals. As a result, there is often a focus on outcomes that can be measured (budgets, processes, and systems) as they often consider achievement in terms of effort. Individuals strong in “executing” need less extrinsic motivation to get things done as compared to others.

There are nine themes in this domain, and all approach productivity differently:

  • Achiever
  • Arranger
  • Belief
  • Consistency
  • Deliberative
  • Discipline
  • Focus
  • Responsibility
  • Restorative

  1. Influencing

Effective communication is essential to achieving business goals.

Individuals with prominent talents in this domain are good at showcasing and amplifying the ideas of others. They are talented advocates of a cause or a goal; they will endorse and amplify an idea into something bigger, or expose it to a larger audience than that person could have done on their own. 

Individuals in the “Influencing” domain understand their audience well and are familiar with their preferences and values. They naturally take the lead, vocalize their opinions, and ensure everyone's voice is acknowledged. Effortlessly, they can readily influence others' emotions and actions, inspiring positive change in how those around them perceive, act, or think.

These are the eight themes within the domain:

  • Activator
  • Command
  • Communication
  • Competition
  • Maximizer
  • Self-Assurance
  • Significance
  • Woo

  1. Relationship building

A team's strength lies in giving each member the freedom to utilize their unique abilities while appreciating one another’s strengths.

Individuals with dominant talents in this domain are experts at forming strong bonds that bring a group together for a task, project, or cause. They build connections and enhance networks within groups because they understand that collective action can move an organization further and faster than individual actions ever could. 

They're naturally tuned into others' energy and emotions, reflecting and reciprocating them. They know the key to building a strong team is to harness every member’s strengths and empower them to use their distinctive talents. This leads to deep, genuine relationships that go beyond oneself and contribute to something larger.

Here are the nine themes within the domain:

  • Adaptability
  • Connectedness
  • Developer
  • Empathy
  • Harmony
  • Includer
  • Individualization
  • Positivity
  • Relator

  1. Strategic thinking

Every team requires dedicated members who devote their time and skills to planning their team's success.

If you're a Strategic Thinker, your best work unfolds within your thoughts. You absorb and analyze complex information for informed decisions, often bringing innovation and fresh ideas. You are good at processing information, clarifying abstract thoughts, and paving the way for future progress.

If you scored high in this domain, you are able to excel in job roles involving processing information, communication, or audit and verification. Your strengths lie in your ability to perform well with a clear mind and outstanding creativity!

There are eight themes within the domain:

  • Analytical
  • Context
  • Futuristic
  • Ideation
  • Input
  • Intellection
  • Learner
  • Strategic

Why should I take the CliftonStrengths Assessment?

Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, you should take the assessment to understand yourselves better; it helps to enhance teamwork and create a more cohesive working environment. 

  • Discover your strengths: Take the test to uncover your natural talents and hidden abilities.
  • Enhance self-awareness: Gain insights on how to utilize your personal talents to progress at work and in relationships.
  • Build confidence: Knowing how you can contribute to the company will help you boost your confidence.
  • Improve communication: Learn how to convey your preferences well for better collaboration among your team.
  • Maximize business growth: Align your strengths with your goals to make steady progress at work.

How will my team benefit?

For managers and business owners, the assessment has proven useful for defining your responsibilities and gaining effective leadership insights to lead your  team well. 

Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies have used the CliftonStrengths assessment to improve their workplace, including Southwest Airlines and Estée Lauder Companies, and here are some of its benefits:

  • Discover each other’s strengths: Find out what you and your team members naturally excel at, so you can find ways to apply their talents authentically and productively.
  • Build a cohesive working environment: As you learn more about yourself and your team members, you will begin to gain ideas to make your workforce more productive.
  • Boost team productivity: As a team leader, you can align tasks with each member’s strengths for more efficient and enjoyable work.
  • Forming and maximizing teams: Understanding each member's talents gives you ideas on how to maximize the team’s full potential.
  • Strategic decision-making: Forming a team of individuals with different talents fosters innovation and helps with better decision-making.


Finding the right talent for your business can be a challenging task.

But with a psychometric instrument like the CliftonStrengths assessment, business owners can better evaluate and identify outstanding individuals with clear metrics to build a strong and cohesive team.

Want to unleash your team’s potential for greater success? Assemble your dream team with the help of a professional strengths coach! Our Circularity Me Package has all you need to kickstart your journey; it grants you access to e-learning materials, Kolbe Index and CliftonStrengths assessments, the Gallup Access App, and a 30-minute consultation with our coach.

Schedule a consultation call with us today to get in touch with our Gallup-certified Strengths Coach and plan a future-proof talent management strategy for your business.

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