Strategic®: One destination. Many paths.

If you are able to quickly see multiple paths to a future destination and discern the path most likely to succeed there is a good chance the CliftonStrengths® talent theme of Strategic is in your top 5 talents. Read more about why as a kid you did mazes “backward” and more about the superpowers of being a Strategic in my latest blog post. 


Strategics have microprocessor brains that quickly discern multiple paths to an end. This is an innate ability, not one that can be taught, it just happens. Strategics are amazing to observe and sometimes maddening to follow. They can think so fast that it is difficult for others to perceive their rationale.

Strategics tend to live at the 30,000-foot level. Unlike those with Futuristic® who are natural visionaries at the 50,000-foot level, Strategics can see that distant mountain peak destination and multiple mountain peaks between the here and there. They know in their gut that the distant peak can be reached by connecting the other mountain peaks. They continually ask, “What if..?”, select the best option, and then execute their plan. Yet, at the 30,000-foot level, the minutiae and details of the terrain below are obscured by the clouds below the peaks. As such, strategics typically don’t enjoy details. They can get there, but they don’t like to stay there. 

This certainty without clarity can make communication difficult.  People who do not have strong Strategic and have talents more interested in details such as Arranger®, and Analytical® or fast-acting talents like Activator® may struggle when working with Strategics. It is important that Strategics take the time to learn how to communicate effectively and share their decision-making process with others. This will build trust and credibility. Also, respecting those who see details more clearly or work best with clarity can ensure that every part of the plan works smoothly.

When I coach Strategics I like to ask them if when they were young, or maybe even still, they enjoyed solving maze puzzles. If so, did they start at the end of the maze and work their way back to the start? Often times they sheepishly admit that they did do just that. Well, that is actually very strategic! This is typically how strategics find the path, they begin at the end and work their way back to the start. This helps them eliminate detours, dead ends, and other “resource wasters.” Now, if a Strategic has the Belief® talent, there is less chance that she started at the end because the Belief talent is telling her it’s “cheating,” or “wrong.” Meanwhile, the Strategic part of her thinks it is smart! Strategics are constantly on the lookout for “hacks” and faster ways to get things done.

It is always fun to look at the ways talents “collide” with one another but we’ll save that for another day. For now, we will focus on being Strategic. 

Here are some other words that may describe someone with top 5 Strategic:

  • Thinker
  • Decisive
  • Planner
  • Creative
  • Visionary

If Strategic is in your top 5, how are you strengthening it? How does it interact with other talents in your top 5? If you have Empathy® in your top 5 you might ask yourself what Strategic Empathy looks like. Give yourself time to reflect on your goals and engage your Strategic to help you find a path. Consider learning to consult and communicate more clearly with others. 

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

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