I have to confess: I did what I advise against. I have taken the CliftonStrengths Assessment several times.
First, a few reasons why I advise against it.
Hopefully, by the time I take the CliftonStrengths Assessment a second time, I’m already a bit biased and believe that investing in my strengths is better than trying to solve my weaknesses.
Or better yet, I no longer necessarily understand my weaknesses as the things I can’t do, but as what prevents me from being efficient, productive, and helpful.
After all, it can be my strengths hindering me if they demand too much space and attention.
This knowledge alone makes me respond differently to certain of the 177 questions in the assessment.
Moreover, a few terms mean something different for us now. Empathy in colloquial terms is different from Gallup’s definition of empathy. But if I have Gallup’s term in mind, I will also respond differently to certain questions.
Third, it is almost impossible for us to answer 177 questions exactly the same way over and over again. This leads to shifts in the results, which I then focus on. This leads to me trusting the assessment less and therefore benefiting less.
Smaller shifts are normal, even certain jumps can be well explained, but the energy is now invested in the wrong thing.
Various studies conducted by Gallup showed an average stability of about 70% of Top 5 and 95% of Top 10.
That is, on average, one strength slips out of the top 10 and is replaced by another. The results of the studies can be read on the Gallup website in the Technical Report.
But back to me. I have so many strengths in Strategic Thinking that I, of course, had to do my own “research”. But again, I didn’t.
I took the assessment in February 2017, and retook it as part of my certification in October 2017. I did this before the course because I was sent a code for the course and didn’t know any better yet.
I repeated the assessment in 2018 when Gallup changed platforms to the current Access. I wanted to know what the new process looked like for my clients.
In 2019, I took the assessment again. I had just gotten over cancer (or rather, I thought I had). Gallup recommends retaking the assessment after a major trauma, if necessary.
And a few days ago, I was asked by Gallup to test the new version for coaches, the Personal Subscription, for them. I did the assessment again in that frame to check the features.
I am amazed at how robust the results are for me.
My top 10 each differ in one talent theme: Maximizer, Self-Assurance, and Relator alternate.
For me, Maximizer is a typical example of the effect described above: I’m now on a path of steady growth and know there’s always more to come.
Relator, on the other hand, has always danced around the top 10. Maybe an indication that I have eleven dominant strengths? Or possibly, there are only 9, namely the ones that consistently show up in the top 10? Or perhaps Relator just jumped the gun because a small group of people became more important to me in my fight against cancer, pulmonary embolism, and more.
As I said, I think Maximizer snuck in. I am most comfortable with the original result, and I am currently wavering between 9, 10, and 11 dominant strengths.
Finally, the reasons for doing the assessment a second time:
- Trauma in the interim.
- The first time you were under 25, and that was 5 years ago or more.
- You took the assessment once, but you were thinking about pleasing someone else (e.g. your boss).
If you are surprised by the result, get a coach to help you track down the result. I’m happy to do that, of course.