CliftonStrengths®: A Formula for Growth – Part 2

Last week, in Part 1 of this series we looked at the fact that our CliftonStrengths results are not “strengths,” they are Talent Themes. Our Talent Themes reside on a continuum from raw talent to refined strength. We can determine, based on our observation of our performance where on that continuum our talents lie. I suggested this question as a good gauge when answering that question. 

“Do I control my talent, or does my talent control me”?

Example: As I write this I notice that I have 4 browser windows with a combined total of over 30 tabs open. I take this as an indication that my top-ranked “Input®” talent theme is not entirely under my control and therefore offers plenty of opportunity for growth!

That is the great thing about Talent Themes, even when they are more talented than strength – they represent an area of growth where we will experience not just growth, but joy! Our talent will get stronger and we will have fun doing it. 

In school, you probably had a subject that you did not enjoy. Progress was hard-fought and not really fun. Other classes were “easy” and even fun. I think it is not a stretch to suggest that those subjects where you excelled were subjects that aligned with your design. Other subjects, not so much. Even now, you probably run into things like that. You know what? It’s ok. You aren’t designed to do everything perfectly, so give yourself some grace.

Now, in those areas where you are designed to excel, your top 5-10 (if you know them) talent themes, here is a simple formula for talent growth. Ask yourself what skills, knowledge, and opportunities for talent use can you access for that Talent Theme?


As you write out your growth plan, be sure to set SMART goals. SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Accountability, Relevant, Time Bound.

So if Harmony® is in your top-5 Talent Themes, you might want to “look for opportunities to resolve conflict” as a growth step. To make this a SMART goal you might say, “by Wednesday I am going to watch a TEDTalk about conflict resolution, and then on Friday have a talk with my teammates about dirty dishes in the common area at work. I will ask my good friend, ________________, to hold me accountable.” That is a bit of a two-step goal, but I hope you see how it can work. 

Depending on your talents, you may be able to develop multiple talents at the same time or use one talent to strengthen another, thereby strengthening both talents. I can use my Input to research methods and tools to better organize my research so I can use my Strategic® to focus my research and keep my Input from having so many tabs open, or researching irrelevant things such as the 2022 Koenigsegg car models that I can’t come close to affording! 

My hope for you is that you are able to live more and more according to your design, your Talent Themes because that is where you will find the most success and joy. You wouldn’t drive a Ferrari off-road, so why are you trying to do so many things you aren’t designed to do?

I do hope that you will leave a comment and share your thoughts about your talents and what you are doing this week to move them towards the Strength side of the scale.

“CliftonStrengths” and the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are registered trademarks of Gallup, Inc. The graphic elements copyright © CoreClarity, Inc.

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