2 Things Everyone Wants To Know about CliftonStrengths

assessment strengthsfinder May 23, 2019
Someone holding a crystal ball in a forest

The two questions I am most frequently asked about the CliftonStrengths are usually asked at the same time:

One: Do your talents change over time?

Two: If I took the assessment again would I get the same results?

I first took the assessment in 2004 and then took it again in 2009. Three talents “changed” in the second result. In particular, Relator had replaced my Command talent & my core drill went from being a Force of Nature to a LifeLine. In 2009, I was in more of a support role. Though I was good at it, I was often frustrated that I was not doing more to influence and lead others.

Later that year, I went through the CoreClarity facilitator training. My trainer, Candace Fitzpatrick, confirmed that Command was definitely in my Top 5. As we discussed it further, the dissonance in my current role and my talent usage made total sense. My current role had been playing to a couple of talents in my next tier while ignoring others in my Top 5.

This is a personal example of what has become a consistent theme with those who reassess. If the results are different it is almost always in line with their role or job expectations at the time they took the assessment again. The Gallup website adamantly states the first completion of the assessment produces the “purest and most revealing results.”

Pure” in that they are untainted by re-assessment biases. Anytime we retake an assessment, we have a subconscious and sometimes very conscious bias. Some folks can “game’ the results if they believe the assessor is looking for specific outcomes.

Revealing” points to the more natural response to the assessment the first time through. In its unique process, the Clifton StrengthsFinder surfaces dominant talent themes with a pair of statements over a 20-second time limit. One cannot overanalyze or anticipate outcomes. This is especially true the first time one goes through the 177 items.

The “pure” and “revealing” results of the first assessment reveal talents we may have as frozen assets that we can bring to life as we add skills, knowledge and use to them.

Finally, another related question I am also asked is, “But what about my mood when I took the assessment?” People often want to reassess because they were “not in a good place” at the time of the first assessment. Again, we have to focus on what the assessment is assessing. Is it moods which can constantly change and flux for many of us, or is it natural recurring patterns of how we think, feel, or behave that can be productively applied?

To quote the Gallup website directly on this matter: “Through our research, we have discovered that a person's mood has little effect on his or her Clifton StrengthsFinder results... the Clifton StrengthsFinder effectively cuts through your mood to reveal your most dominant themes of talent.” Yes, it does -- even on a bad hair day.