Materia Gratis: Articles

The StrengthsFinder® and the ChangeGrid®

by T. Falcon Napier

For the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ajai Singh, who’s come to Davidson from Mumbai to complete his Certified MasterStream Sales Trainer course. Prior to his arrival in Charlotte, Ajai was in Texas attending a training program offered by CoreClarity, Inc. about coaching using the Clifton StrengthsFinder® instrument.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder® is an online assessment developed in 1998 by Donald Clifton, Tom Rath and a group of researchers at the Gallup Organization. It is offered exclusively as a value-added experience integrated into their book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0.”

The assessment presents the respondent with 180 pairs of statements describing beliefs about one’s self and asks you to lean gently or strongly in one direction or the other — or take a neutral stance, if that feels right. Upon completion, you receive a brief report revealing your top 5 strengths from a list of 34 possibilities. (I’ll tell you about the other 29 a bit later.)

You all know that I’m fascinated by ALL psychometric instruments, so I asked to see descriptions of the 34 strengths, and any sort of “Map of Humanity” they may have created. Ajai provided me with all of that (follow the hyperlinks to see for yourself) AND extended an invitation for me and Linda to experience the StrengthsFinder for ourselves.

Now, two more things you probably know about me:  1) I am incapable of turning down an opportunity to complete a free assessment, and 2) I genuinely want to explore how the ChangeGrid might enhance the personal growth achieved by a respondent subsequent to completing the StrengthsFinder — or any other assessment for that matter.

So here’s a link to my Top 5 Strengths. In order from the highest, they are:  Strategic, Deliberative, Analytical, Relator and Individualization. If you follow the previous link, you’ll find the actual report that Gallup sends out, which includes descriptions of each of those strengths.

Here’s another link to my Coaching Packet. The Coaching Packet is the creation of Candace Fitzpatrick, President of CoreClarity, Inc. It was designed as part of a coaching system she developed around the StrengthsFinder.

Well, all I can say is “WOW!” The result certainly resonates with me, my work and the way I approach the world — and I’m excited by the opportunities for the ChangeGrid to be integrated into the marketing of the StrengthsFinder and the delivery of the professional services that surround it.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least FIVE ways the ChangeGrid could be used by professionals building a practice around the StrengthsFinder.

The first two would require that the respondent has a basic understanding of each of the talents being assessed:

1) Following the completion of the StrengthsFinder, create a ChangeGrid exploring the optimization potential of the respondent’s top 5 talents, which, in my case, looks like this:


Optimizing my Top 5 Strengths (CLICK to view full-size)

How is this useful? While I may possess a particular talent, the question here is, “How effectively am I leveraging it?” — and the ChangeGrid reveals the answer.

To set the stage, let’s look at the verb I’ve chosen — “optimizing” — and determine an ideal location for it on the ChangeGrid.  While I haven’t dashed to the dictionary here, I’d say that “optimizing” means successfully applying the talent in increasingly challenging situations — and I’d suggest it would ideally plot at coordinates 10,10.

Looking at my ChangeGrid, my strongest talent — the “Strategic” theme — falls at coordinates 6,11. That means I’ll definitely need some DownGrid and OutGrid Maneuvers to achieve maximum optimization potential.  Meanwhile, my “Relator” theme plots very far DownGrid and represents a talent that is well-developed but under-utilized — classic untapped potential.  In fact, NONE of my talents are currently optimized — so what sort of ChangeGrid Maneuvers might you recommend for me?

2) Create a ChangeGrid exploring the optimization potential of ALL 34 talents. Here’s mine:

Optimizing all 34 Strengths

Optimizing all 34 Strengths (CLICK to view full-size)

Certainly, it’s good to know how we stand with ALL of the 34 talents — not just our top 5.  (BTW, you CAN order a complete report, including a coaching session, from the Gallup Organization for about $500 — which at first glance, seems a bit steep.  Nevertheless, I’m truly tempted because I would really like to know what my NEXT 5 top talents are — and what my WORST 5 are too! How’s THAT for tension management?)

But even without knowledge of ALL of my individual talent rankings, I can still explore the optimization potential for the entire set — and that could be VERY useful.  For example, if some goal you’re working on would benefit from improving a particular talent that currently plots in an undesirable location, you’ll know what work lies ahead if you expect to build strength in that talent area.

3) Create a ChangeGrid that explores the top 5 talents in more detail. Break each of the top 5 talents into 5 to 10 “mission-critical activities”  for a more in-depth look at the client’s readiness to progress.

4) Create a Secondary ChangeGrid. Of course, every time a ChangeGrid is read, a new ChangeGrid is born, populated with all of the CUSTOMIZED action items that emerge during the discussion. This, in turn, gives the coach/manager clear and instant insight in the likelihood that the client will actually follow though and DO what needs to be done.

5) Create a ChangeGrid that explores a single CORE/DEFINING activity for each of the 34 talents.

In this application, you would need to craft a clear, exemplary activity for each of the 34 talents. Ajai and I did spend some time developing such a list, and here offer it as our sample “34 Strengths Profile.”

This could be easily deployed as a marketing campaign or integrated into your sales efforts as an intake and conversion tool.

Give it a little thought, and I’m sure you can all come up with even more creative and valuable ways to put the ChangeGrid to productive use — whether you’re using the StrengthsFinder or ANY other psychometric tool.


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