Addressing Reason 3: “The tool is too difficult to grasp!”

ease of understanding cliftonstrengths profiling tool


In my previous article, I highlighted 6 potential reasons why people find it difficult to implement CliftonStrengths in their workplace: 

  1. Alternative tools
  2. Price
  3. Ease of understanding
  4. Level of accuracy
  5. Effectiveness of tool
  6. Commitment 

This list is not exhaustive, but it aims to capture the primary and most common reasons why people may question the necessity of CliftonStrengths. 

In this short article, I’ll address the third reason – Ease of Understanding.

You may also choose to revisit the main article before this, or click on any of the other 5 reasons that speak to you. 

Addressing Difficulty

Another notable consideration is the significant learning curve associated with CliftonStrengths. To me however, this is warranted. If your goal is to quickly learn and use the results from a profiling assessment, perhaps CliftonStrengths is not the ideal choice. Just like learning a new language altogether, you need time to learn deeply and continuous exposure and use, in order to truly appreciate and effectively apply it.

This strong stance of mine is precisely due to the tool’s strengths!

Firstly, it shows that CliftonStrengths is not a stereotyping tool, that often ignores the complexity and nuances of human behaviours. While it is true that we can quickly learn a profiling tool and judge people based on one or two simple characteristics (e.g., “You belong to category A, and not B!” or “You are behaviour A, and B, but not C.”), it risks oversimplification and neglects important subtleties. 

On the other hand, CliftonStrengths goes one step further by acknowledging the concept of contrasting themes, where an individual can have a talent theme that seems to be “opposite” of another theme. This shows that human beings can be complex and have varying thinking, feeling and behaviour depending on different circumstances. 

Additionally, I perceive that if something is harder and requires more time to learn, it generally means it holds more substance and weight, since things of worth never come easy. Of course, some people will argue that complexity does not necessarily guarantee meaning, but adding in other factors such as comprehensiveness and practicality (of which I score CliftonStrengths high on), subject matters requiring more rigorous learning tend to yield a longer-term result.

In essence, there are circumstances where you find using a simple profiling tool could help you gain quick and basic understanding of your colleagues and how to work together, but for prolonged or crucial collaboration, investing in CliftonStrengths might be worth a consideration.