How Dr. Clifton Found His Strength

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I’m a nerd. Might as well get it out there.

In college, I studied electrical engineering. I had a pocket protector. I thought it was cool.

I wore my scientific calculator in a pouch on my belt. I thought it was cool.

My friend Paul says that we are “recovering engineers.” There’s a lot of truth in that.

In spite of this, when nerds assemble – herds of nerds – we can accomplish some great things.

One thing nerds like to do is measure things. This probably explains why I like the science behind personality assessments. I’ve taken a number of them over the years, some really good, some not so much.

So, you can imagine my excitement last year when I was introduced to another one. It was extremely accurate and insightful. Today I’d like to share it with you.

Back in 1950, there was a gentleman named Donald O. Clifton who began a nineteen year tenure at the University of Nebraska teaching and researching educational psychology.

During this time, he realized that most psychology to date had focused on what was wrong with people versus their strengths. So, he turned his attention to the latter.

Over time, he developed what is now known as “StrengthsFinder 2.0” which is published by Gallup. StrengthsFinder measures thirty-four themes that make up a person’s personality.

His work was so significant, that following his death the University of Nebraska created the Don Clifton Strengths Institute, focusing on early identification and development of future entrepreneurs.

Great impact. Great legacy.

So, how does StrengthsFinder 2.0 work and how do you take it?

The assessment itself is actually unlocked by a small book called “Discover Your CliftonStrengths.” This book is readily available on Amazon. There’s a link below.

The book contains a pouch with an activation code, which allows you to go the web site and take the assessment. The assessment is thorough, so allow yourself a generous block of time to complete it.

The book itself covers why you should take the assessment, how to apply your strengths, and then discusses the basics of all 34 themes. It is a handy reference.

Upon completing the assessment, you will be presented with your “Strengths Insight Guide” and your “Signature Theme Report” which reviews your top 5 strengths.

For an additional fee ($39 when I took it), you can unlock a detailed report that reviews all thirty-four of your themes, the top 10 of which are reviewed in detail. This is called your “Gallup Strengths 34” report.

The main takeaway from the themes is that – as leaders – we should work on strengthening our top ten, and focus on navigating or managing the others.

You can download a copy of my report to see how it is structured by clicking on the link below. Just don’t judge me. 🙂

I’m not sure whether Dr. Clifton was an authentic nerd or not. I have no quantitative data about how he scored on the “pocket protector” or “calculator on the belt” tests, which are both key indicators of authenticity.

But, his work speaks for itself. It keeps nerds like me engaged and interested, and it also has helped a lot of people move their lives and careers forward in very positive ways.

I believe you will find it useful, too.

Amazon Link to StrengthsFinder2.0 Book

Marv’s Clifton Strengths 34 Report

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