Strengthsfinder by Tom Rath

When your first book that you coauthored with your grandfather becomes a bestseller, you know you’re cut out for some serious stuff. That’s Tom Rath for you, grandson of Donald O’Clifton who pioneered the CliftonStrengths psychological assessment tool which deals with 34 strengths that make up your personality. An early identification of these strengths can help one to capitalize and perhaps, develop into a successful entrepreneur.



Author : Tom Rath
Originally Published :2007
Publication : Gallup Press
Pages : 161
Genre(s) : Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Business and Personal Development

Tom Rath begins by telling us why he wrote this book when he, like many others, was tired of focusing on fixing weaknesses rather than discovering one’s strengths. Rath realized that trying hard to be what you are not, puts a person under tremendous stress. By following the maxim that one can become whatever one wants to be by hard work, leaves someone repeatedly doing something he/she is absolutely not cut out for. It wastes the time and also results in loss of time and opportunities that the person would have otherwise sought had strengths been known. We try to study and work on our weaknesses more than working on what we’re already good at.

What happens when we don’t know our strengths

All of us are aware of our individual weaknesses but don’t really know our own strengths. That leaves us vulnerable to

  • A feeling of being inferior to others
  • Not enjoying what we do
  • Earn and achieve less
  • Keep expressing how you dread your work
  • Have few positive memories

One must not mistake talent with strengths. The former is an innate ability which when combined with an equal amount of investment through time and skill enhancement results in being our strength.

As Cliffton says, there are 34 core strengths in humans. In order to find out what are your top five, you need to take a Strengthsfinder test available on this site. This test allows you only 20 seconds to decide on an answer to find your strengths. You can either buy the assessment on the site, or purchase the book on amazon website with the voucher code.

34 ClifftonStrengths at a glance

  1. Achiever: Someone who constantly has a drive to achieve. After every accomplishment, the drive tends to fade a bit but again rekindles and you look at finding another accomplishment. These people must look out for jobs that allow them to plan, strive and achieve- something like sales but don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments.
  2. Activator: There’s this zeal to begin. Let’s do, is this person’s mantra. They need some autonomy to initiate tasks and take decisions. Focusing on outcomes rather than process is the key.
  3. Adaptability: Love to be unpredictable and dislike routine. Are comfortable with last minute changes in plans.
  4. Analytical: Always ask proof, reasons, causes for anything that they encounter. Love data and seek to find out patterns in the data. Good at defending or probing.
  5. Arranger: Good at managing chaotic patterns until sure that they have been aligned.
  6. Belief: A person who values family, ethics, is spiritual and is trustworthy. Are easily entrusted with responsibilities.
  7. Command: Not afraid of confrontation and loves to take charge. People seek them out to hand over charge many times.
  8. Communication: Loves to explain, talk things out and believes in the power of words. Stories, anecdotes are your way of explaining.
  9. Competition: Thrives in a competitive environment. Easily challenge others and tend to outperform others.
  10. Connectedness: Realizes that everything has a connection and you feel connected to your work and people around. A bridge between people of different cultures.
  11. Consistency: Some people keep doing things irrespective of anything. They will respect people always come what may, root for underdogs and have a set of non-negotiable rules.
  12. Context: Always want to see things in context with their underlying causes and learn from past mistakes.
  13. Deliberative: Finding the risks involved and then dealing with them. They double check whatever they do and make careful decisions.
  14. Developer: Help others evolve and grow. Gain joy by seeing people discover their skills and motivating them.
  15. Discipline: Orderly, planned work at all times. Tend to expect the same from others. Focus on timelines and are comfortable with rules.
  16. Empathy: Give voice to others emotions and not just show sympathy. Are good at lending ears and listen .
  17. Focus: Impatient when things tend to derail a tad bit. Always know where they’re headed. Prevent others from wandering.
  18. Futuristic: Always begin with something that is not obvious like ‘Have you ever thought what if….’. They see a detailed picture when just the dots exist.
  19. Harmony: Seek balance and avoid confrontation, find common ground and make peace among conflicting parties.
  20. Ideation: Novel ideas, a mind that always looks for connections. See things from strange angles that others don’t even notice.
  21. Includer: These people don’t like teams where there is exclusion. They want to draw everyone in so that no one is left outside.
  22. Individualization: Like to cast people in individual types to find out what is unique in each of them. Good at explaining and finding others’ strengths.
  23. Input: Seek out and file facts for use. Collects facts, books, quotes, or tangible things like cards, stamps. Loves new information and to share it when required.
  24. Intellection: Like to think. Feel charged when there is something to be thought about and not just given on a platter.
  25. Learner: You feel good embarking on a journey from ignorance to competence. New classes, new knowledge thrills you.
  26. Maximizer: Actively seek out strengths and strive to build upon them. They nurture it, refine it and stretch it till excellence.
  27. Positivity: Always see glass as full. Inject drama into every project and move away from negativity.
  28. Relator: Deliberately strengthen relationships and make it genuine. Loves to cherish friendships. Develops genuine bonds with everyone.
  29. Responsibility: Have a psychological ownership about anything they do. They have a reputation for being utterly dependable.
  30. Restorative: Analyse what’s wrong and finding solutions. Enjoy bringing things back to life. Love tor restore to original glory. Can be meddling in others lives at times.
  31. Self-Assurance: A clear flag bearer of self-confidence and know that their perspective is unique and valuable.
  32. Significance: Loves to be recognized and admired as credible, professional and successful and tend to associate with those who are that.
  33. Strategic: See through clutter and find the best option. It’s an innate trait and cannot be taught. This trait reduces chances of going wrong because it has already been thought about.
  34. Woo: Like to get people know you and you actively try for that. Finding some area of common interest and develop rapport.

How to use the Strengthsfinder results

This book and the strengths that it highlights changes the way we think about our own potential and that of others.

  • If you’re taking this test to assess your own strengths, study the report carefully and ponder upon which of these strengths you can capitalize in an area of your choice- be it entrepreneurship, mentoring or leadership.
  • Choose a job that allows full expression of your strengths.
  • If you’re giving this test to your employees, ensure you have a detailed conversation with them to allow them discover what they can do to utilize their strengths. Counseling is the key to achieving best results.

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