Why CliftonStrengths + PathwayU Are A Winning CombinationMar 08, 2022
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CliftonStrengths® isn’t supposed to be used for job selection, but what if you’re looking for that kind of direction? That’s where PathwayU comes in. CliftonStrengths can tell you what you’re good at, while PathwayU can predict possible pathways for fulfillment and impact. Together, CliftonStrengths and PathwayU are a winning combination.
What is CliftonStrengths?
CliftonStrengths is a talent assessment that identifies your areas of natural potential, called talent themes. The idea is to find your talent themes, apply them toward your intended outcomes, and develop them into strengths over time (consistent, near-perfect performance). Your best results are going to come from using your talents.
(Haven't taken CliftonStrengths yet? No problem, you can get a code here.)
There are 34 different CliftonStrengths talent themes, which each belong to a particular category of talent: executing tasks, relating to people, thinking intentionally, and influencing others. These categories of talent, also called theme domains, describe the general, overall contribution when working with others:
- Executing tasks – focused on the way that work is getting done
- Relating to people – focused on connecting with who is around you
- Thinking intentionally – focused on thinking about what’s possible
- Influencing others – focused on impacting people and causing movement
Within each domain, the different talent themes function a little bit differently but the overall approach within each domain is the same.
For example, both Achiever and Responsibility belong to the Executing domain. Both are focused on getting the work done but:
- Achiever stays busy, is concentrated on productivity, and has stamina for the work
- Responsibility is psychologically connected to the work, strives to deliver what is expected, and is known as loyal and dependable
Genius of CliftonStrengths
Since CliftonStrengths is a performance tool, one may try to select ideal employees for a specific job role based on what is perceived as ideal strengths for the job. Or one may select a specific job role based on their own strengths under the assumption that particular strengths will lead to success in the job.
Over the past few years, I’ve led Strengths workshops and coached people who had various job roles:
- Preschool teachers
- University department heads
- Police officers
- Fitness trainers
- Social workers
- Motivational speakers
When working with a team of people in the same job, there are usually top talent themes in the group. For example, I’ve found that:
- Preschool teachers have a lot of Developer (drawing out potential) and Adaptability (going with the flow)
- Fundraisers have a lot of Relator (connecting with others around common ground) and Significance (leaving a legacy)
- Fitness trainers have a lot of Maximizer (moving from good to great) and Competition (performing better than others or yourself)
When you start to recognize these patterns, it’s easy to think, “Well, just hire those types of people.” Or “Hey, I’ve got those same talents, I’ll take one of those jobs.”
Not A Prescription
But CliftonStrengths is not meant to prescribe which talents will mean success in a certain job role. You can use your talents in a variety of ways.
For example, I’ve found that:
- Librarians and Social workers have a lot of Input (gathering and collecting) and Learner (capacity to learn)
- Motivational speakers and Salespeople have a lot of Positivity (contagious enthusiasm) and WOO (winning others over)
- University department heads and Police officers have a lot of Responsibility (taking ownership) and Achiever (stamina to produce)
Within each pairing, these job roles are not the same! A librarian is not a social worker. A motivational speaker is not a salesperson. A professor is not a police officer.
Or are they more alike than we think? Turns out librarians have more in common with social workers. Both collect and archive information, both acquire knowledge and catalogue it, and both take on new things. That’s Input and Learner.
You can do the same analysis with motivational speakers/salespeople and with university department heads/police officers, and you will find common activities among both job roles.
The lesson here is that rather than deciding on specific job roles based on strengths, it’s better to look at your strengths and decide which types of activities you’d be good at. Then find job roles that contain those activities.
But how do you do that efficiently? This brings us to PathwayU.
What is PathwayU?
I introduced PathwayU in a recent blog post and shared some of my own results.
We also recorded a podcast where we debriefed the results of a mid-life professional who is exploring what’s next.
PathwayU is a platform by company Jobzology that uses predictive science to help you discover which paths could create more purpose, meaning, and joy in your life and work.
It is a single platform that is a:
- calling assessment
- possibility finder
- job hunter
- coaching tool
- educational resource
PathwayU was originally designed for college students to choose best fits for educational majors and careers, but it’s also used by teenagers, working professionals, and retirees who are looking to build a more meaningful and impactful life. It was created by vocational psychologists using top scientific models and methods for validity and reliability.
Four assessments are built into the platform:
- Work-related values
- Workplace preferences
The assessments don’t take long to complete, and the user interface is very friendly. After you take the four assessments, you can see your scores and read feedback about them.
This is when the real fun begins, it’s time for predictive science.
Time for Prediction
Based on your assessment results, PathwayU suggests core subject areas and career matches that may be a fit.
For me it suggested:
- Education: teach and train
- Human Services: serve human beings
- Arts, Media, & Communication: write and communicate
You can then click on the subject areas and view careers within that area.
For Human Services, it showed careers with “Very Strong Matches” like:
- Clergy: provide spiritual and moral guidance (majored in Religion & Theology)
- Residential Advisor: coordinate activities in college dorms (I was an RA in college)
- Mental Health Counselor: promote mental and emotional health (like a coach)
You can then click on the career match for lots of information like:
- Job description
- Daily activities
- Academic programs to prepare
- Abilities, skills, and knowledge
- Average salary
- Video showing career in action
You can even look for open job listings using the Indeed plugin.
Genius of PathwayU
Herein lies the genius of PathwayU. What the platform does is take the results of your assessments—measurements that are important for building a meaningful and impactful life—and suggest pathways for you to consider.
You start wide with subject areas, go more narrow with careers within the subject areas, and then go more narrow with specific information about the careers. It's here that PathwayU saves remarkable amounts of time and energy by suggesting subject areas and careers based on your personality, which you could do on your own using your strengths data and mapping it to job activities, then figuring out which jobs include those activities.
But seriously, ain't nobody got time for that.
When you combine CliftonStrengths and PathwayU, you will have five assessments that reveal so much for not only self-awareness and individual performance but also future direction based on who you are.
- Talent themes
- Work-related values
- Workplace preferences
With this combination, you can combine the data and see connections.
For example, on PathwayU, my primary interests are Social and Artistic. When I consider my Top Ten CliftonStrengths themes, I see connections between the two assessments and how I live out that interest using my talents:
- Social – Empathy, Developer, Relator, Positivity, and Adaptability
- Artistic – Maximizer, Ideation
On PathwayU, my primary work values are Independence and Relationships.
Connecting to CliftonStrengths, I see:
- Independence – Responsibility, Activator, Belief
- Relationships – same as the Social themes above
On PathwayU, my workplace preferences are Guiding Principles and Performance.
Aligning with CliftonStrengths, I see:
- Guiding Principles – Belief, Relator
- Performance – Responsibility, Belief, Activator
With this combination, you can explore the job activities suggested by PathwayU and imagine how you would use your strengths in that career.
For example, PathwayU suggested for me the career of Clergy.
If I were in that career, here’s how I would use some of my talent themes in the job activities listed in PathwayU:
- Pray and promote spirituality – Activator, Adaptability, Relator
- Read from sacred texts – Belief, Ideation, Responsibility
- Prepare and deliver sermons – Empathy, Maximizer, Developer, Positivity
With knowledge of my talent themes, I can envision myself in this career. Now imagine someone who is seeking greater convergence in their life and work. Knowing their strengths is one thing but knowing meaningful pathways for living out their strengths is another.
CliftonStrengths tells you how to show up. PathwayU tells you where you can go. Now that is a winning combination.
CliftonStrengths and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.
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