Precise, Positive and Universal

These are the 3 of the main reasons we love the language of the CliftonStrengths 34 themes.

Precision: Many personality assessments place people into one of four categories (e.g. True Colors). Some put us into 16 (e.g. Myers-Briggs). The CliftonStrengths assessment evaluates people along 34 different “themes of talent.” Most people opt for the version that provides them with their Top 5 themes. The overall odds of two people having the same Top 5 themes are 1 in 278.000. The odds of two people having the same Top 5 in the exact same order are 1 in 36,000,000. This provides greater precision in understanding the nuances of how one person differs from another.

Positivity: The 34 themes articulate, primarily, positive traits that a person possesses. CliftonStrengths is inherently positive in how it views people. The very basis for the instrument is to help people see their most positive qualities and Dr. Clifton’s philosophy is to encourage people to strive for being at their best more of the time. For that reason, CliftonStrengths takes an inherently positive view of people, without shying away from pointing out ways that our qualities can work against us in certain situations. The positive orientation of CliftonStrengths lends to greater appreciation of ourselves and for each other.

Universality: CliftonStrengths is translated into dozens of languages. While there may be slight changes in the distribution of themes from one culture to another, the 34 themes remain relevant across all populations studied. The universality of CliftonStrengths makes it more credible and relevant. What it describes are 34 qualities that humans from all walks of life possess.

Because they offer precision, positivity and universality, the 34 themes offer us a powerful language of human understanding and development. This is why we include CliftonStrengths in our work of helping people live strength-based lives full of greater alignment and individual-environment fit.

We believe that taking the time to become fluent in the 34 themes is critical to gaining the most value from CliftonStrengths. For you, as an individual, it will provide you with a powerful lens through which you can engage others for greater mutual benefit. For cohesive groups (e.g. teams, families, etc.) the benefits of being fluent in the 34 themes are multiplied. It provides a way for people to see others in a fuller, more beneficial way. It accelerates the stages most groups go through: forming, storming, norming and performing because we can better understand ourselves and how we can form the most complementary relationships with others.

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