CliftonStrengths® and the Skeptic Part 2: Ignorance

Last week, I provided solid scientific evidence that the assessment is in fact very reliable. Granted, no assessment is perfect but you are on safe ground accepting your results from Gallup. Despite strong reliability data, many people remain skeptical. The reasons for their skepticism usually come down to these four categories: Ignorance. Opportunity. Culture. Your other talents. This week, let’s deal with ignorance!

Ignorance does not mean a person is not intelligent, it simply means they are lacking information in certain areas. We are all ignorant in different areas simply because we cannot know everything. No one is omniscient. So, don’t feel bad about being on the level playing field called being human.

In the case of ignorance, it simply means that you were not aware that you had a certain talent. That is part of the reason Dr. Clifton named his assessment “StrengthsFinder.” It is a way to discover or find, a person’s true strengths, or design. You can’t have the strength unless you invest the talent. I also personally believe that it was a good business move because “StrengthsFinder” sounds a lot better than “TalentFinder.” In reality, you are finding your talents when you take the CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) assessment. You do not receive a list of strengths, you receive a list of talent themes. These talent themes exist on a continuum from raw talent to refined strength. So what is the difference?

Think of a talent as something you naturally do, love to do, and do without thinking about it. You don’t have to try to do it, you just do it. In fact, you might not even be aware that you are doing it because it is so innate to you.

A strength is something you naturally do, love to do, and do without thinking about it… but with near-perfect execution every time! 

So, when you get your results from Gallup you are actually looking at a list of talents that exist on a continuum from raw talent to refined strength. You can decide for yourself, based on your performance of that talent where on this continuum your talent lies. 

A question I like to offer my clients is: Do you control your talent or does your talent control you? If you control your talent, it’s on the strength side of the spectrum. If your talent controls you, it is on the talent side of the spectrum. The good news, the GREAT news is that now that you know about it and can invest in it, you will have a blast developing that talent and you will see tremendous fruit from your efforts!

It reminds me of the story of Ira Yates. Yates was barely able to make the mortgage payment on his West Texas ranch. In 1926 oil explorers drilled into Yates’ ranch and hit a massive, as in one of the largest to this day oil fields ever discovered. In fact, it is still producing oil! Needless to say, Mr. Yates was wealthier than he could have ever imagined. What changed? In fact, he was already a wealthy man before the oil was found because he owned it. He was walking on it every day, he just didn’t know about it. Everything changed once he knew about it.

In a similar way, you are your own oil field or gold mine. Once you know what your talents are you can set to getting to work and developing your talents into strengths. In doing so, your self-awareness and other-awareness improves. So do your health, happiness, and productivity. This is one of the reasons that the CliftonStrengths assessment is so helpful!

The CliftonStrengths assessment addresses the problem of ignorance pretty conclusively. If you have not yet taken the CliftonStrengths Inventory, what are you waiting for? Hop over to the Gallup website and for $20 you can learn your top 5 talents, or pay more to learn where all 34 talents are ranked in you.

Mind you, I am not endorsed by Gallup and I receive no benefit from sending you there. That said, if you do the assessment, I hope you will seek me out to discuss your talents.

In the next blog posts, I will address culture, opportunity, and your other talents. Each of those can also profoundly influence your awareness of your talents.

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