Maximizing Strengths at Paulsen

by Thane Paulsen
September 24, 2019

Everyone has a unique set of strengths—a mental toolbox of resources. But everyone has a different set of tools.

Paulsen discovered the Clifton StrengthsFinder program almost 20 years ago. We used the assessment to learn more about ourselves as a team as we entered into a succession plan.

Now, over 20 million people worldwide know their top five CliftonStrengths from a set of 34. The assessment is a great way to discover what you naturally do best, learn how to develop your greatest talents and just get more out of life.

My top five are Maximizer, Communication, Futuristic, Strategic and Competition. Maximizers love to maximize ROI and gas MPG, but also “focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence…seeking to transform something strong into something superb.” I suppose that’s one reason I embrace CliftonStrengths so wholeheartedly. Now our whole management team does as well.

Simply put, at Paulsen, we believe strongly that if team members are able to do more of what they are naturally talented in, they will have much greater success than if they take the same amount of energy and try to improve upon their weaknesses.

Last year, we took a half-day to share our strengths and look at ways we can complement each other’s natural talents to make stronger teams. Skills can be taught. Strengths cannot. Nor can talent. So understanding who has what strength is important. The activity created a common language for everyone to use when talking about what they do best.

Certainly, we all can accomplish tasks we are not naturally gifted at doing, but it can take large amounts of energy to complete and be physically and emotionally draining. Compare that to completing a task you are naturally talented in—you may actually be energized and glow with a great sense of accomplishment. So teaming up with someone of complementary strengths is common at Paulsen.

This month, we dove even deeper. CliftonStrengths now offers a Clifton34 product that unlocks even more knowledge about ourselves. This profile goes beyond the original top five to explore all 34. While it helps us further understand who we are, there is also power in knowing how we make things happen, influence others, build relationships and process information.

Everyone has all 34 strengths, just in a different order. Only one in 34 million people share the exact same “talent DNA.”

During our Align 20 off-site gathering on September 19, we studied the framework of the four CliftonStrengths domains—Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking.  Everybody leads with one of the four and that is an important consideration on how you contribute when you join, create or lead a team.

According to Gallup, “The best teams are made up of individuals who understand their own—and others’—unique contribution to the team. This awareness and appreciation empowers the team to be more cohesive, versatile, productive and engaged.” We couldn’t agree more.

What’s next? We are now beginning to include CliftonStrengths in our onboarding process for new clients, and I’m continuing on a learning path with Gallup to become more valuable as a Strengths Coach. If you’d like to discuss CliftonStrengths, feel free to email me at

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