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Strength Finder -Assessing Strengths of Leaders and Managers

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People should focus on their strengths not their weaknesses to be most effective and successful.


Gallup interviews

The Gallup Organization conducted 2 million interviews over 30 years as basic research to its conclusions about the strengths of leaders and managers. The culmination of their research was published in 2001, Now, Discover Your Strengths", by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. Their interviews consisted of open ended questions to leaders world wide in all types of organizations and fields. From these interviews and database they extracted 34 themes, or "strengths".

Their landmark discovery was that highly successful people have different strengths. There was no single pattern of predominant strengths. What successful people shared was that they emphasized their core strengths. They did not focus on fixing their weaknesses. As the old saying goes...."play to your strengths".

Strengths Finder Assessment

In 1998, Donald O. Clifton (1924-2003), Tom Rath, and a team of scientists at Gallup created the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to measure the prevalence of the 34 strengths in anyone who took the survey. This allows an individual to go online and take a survey to figure out their dominant strengths amongst the 34 strengths defined in the Gallup study. Knowing these an individual can focus on taking advantage of and further developing their core strengths.

Book, Assessment and Other Resources

  • Purchase of the book provides a code for the online Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment. Gallup has a strengthfinder website with additional resources and services they market. Gallup states on their website that 9.4 million people have taken their survey (October 2013).
  • Gallup markets the strength assessment on their WEBSITE

Related Best Practices


The author of this article is Terry Gardiner. The review provided is based on the author's reading of the book, utilizing the online assessment tools and utilizing strength finder assessments with other managers and other personal assessment tools.

Terry Gardiner is the founder and President of Silver Lining Seafoods and NorQuest Seafoods - a medium size Alaska seafood processing companies; and currently Board member of the Anvil Corporation, an employee owned company specializing in oil and gas engineering.

His co-operative experiences include member director of the Commercial Fishermen Co-operative association; creation of legislation for the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank; and advisor to the US Dept of Health and Social Services for the state Health CO-OPs.

Terry served ten years as a member of the Alaska House of Representatives -several legislative committee chairmanships, Speaker of the House, Chairman of the Alaska Criminal Code Commission and board member on various state and federal boards and commissions.

His non-profit experiences include National Policy Director for the Small Business Majority in Washington DC; working with the Herndon Alliance and ForTerra.

Terry authored the leadership book, "Six-Word Lessons to Build Effective Leaders: 100 Lessons to Equip Your People to Create Winning Organizations".

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