Using Gallup StrengthsFinder to Review your Goals & Adjust your Approach
Achieving your Goals isn’t just about defining them and then just working your original plan til the end. Every once in a while, you have to check in on your progress and see where you may need some course corrections.
Because we’ve hit the middle of the year, this is a good time to review your goals – the ones you may have set for yourself earlier this year. Remember those? How are you doing on them thus far? And, what needs adjusting? Did you run into some obstacles and have to take some detours?
Using your CliftonStrengths (or Gallup StrengthsFinder) Results in this process ensures that you’re staying true to what’s best and most natural to you, and not getting distracted by what someone else says is the best approach. You can certainly learn from others’ successes, but for something to be sustainable for you in the long run, you have to do things in a way that fits who you are and fuels you in the process!
There are a lot of ways to review and re-evaluate your goals and your progress towards them. However, in this article, I’m only going to cover the topics most relevant to considering your CliftonStrengths Results and using a Strengths-Based Approach in that Process. And though I’m using midyear as an excuse to focus on this topic, I’m keeping the topics general enough so that you can revisit this content for any goal at any point in your timeline.
I've also created a video of the content in this article. Here's the video version for those who prefer that format:
Time: 15:16 minutes
Re-evaluate the Original Goal
To review your goals and progress, the very first step is to re-evaluate the goal itself. This may sound silly, but things change. Not just circumstances, but you change throughout the process of working towards a goal. It doesn’t matter what your goal is - whether you’re:
- working on a project,
- learning something new,
- starting a new job,
- starting a new business,
- saving money,
- losing weight,
- getting into shape, or
- taking a relationship to a different level.
Whatever your goal is, imagining what something will be like is very different from the reality of living it. So, before we jump into evaluating your approach, let’s check-in on the original Goal itself. Why do you want that particular Goal? Not: Why would someone want that? Why do you want that goal? And, is it something that you still want? Or, was it something you thought you should do?
This is important. Listen to and really check in with yourself. The only answer that matters is your own. There are so many people in the world who’ve created lives based on what they thought they should do or based on what would be safe or secure. They’re waking up decades later wondering: What did they do with their lives? I even admit that I was one of them.
In Bronnie Ware’s Book: The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, she lists the #1 Regret that people say is: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
No matter what your Goal is, the first thing to consider is whether you have the Right Goal for you. There’s no point going through the process if you’re not even aiming towards your true desired destination.
There are three possibilities:
- Your Original Goal is still Right for You.
- If this is the case, you’re in a good place to continue with the other considerations in the review process.
- Your Goal Needs to be Adjusted to something that fits you better.
- Good timing. This review is a good opportunity to update your goal so you can course-correct your overall strategy and approach.
- You realize that your Goal isn’t Right for you altogether.
- If this is the case, there’s absolutely no shame in that. It’s better for you to know sooner than later. It’s healthier for you to focus on goals and topics that are true to who you are and who you want to be. What new goal do you want for yourself instead?
Review your Current Approach
Now that you’ve gotten clearer on your Goal, let’s see how you’re doing so far: What progress have you made, if any? Again, if you haven’t made any progress thus far, there’s no judgment in that. (How many people stop going to the gym by the 2nd week of the New Year?)
This is just a Review, so if this is a Goal you still genuinely want, then dust yourself off and get back on the saddle. There’s still time to adjust and reach your Goal (or at least make progress towards it).
In reviewing your Approach, there are two factors to look at:
- What are your Outcomes thus far?
- And, what Approaches are you taking? Meaning: What are you doing to get those Outcomes?
Approaches focus on your HOW, and I’m going to be more specific: How do those HOWs (meaning: how do those Approaches, the things you’re doing) tie back to your CliftonStrengths Talent Themes? Tie your patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors on your Approach back to your Results.
Are you getting successful Outcomes so far? Are you seeing progress? And, are you on track? If yes, then fantastic! Keep it up. You may want to still experiment with some of the other topics in this article to uplevel your approach.
Or, are you not quite where you’d hope to be – either behind schedule or off track altogether? Again, no shame. This is a progress review to simply adjust and course-correct your Approaches to get back on track.
If you’re off track, is it possible that you’re using your Talent Themes in autopilot mode and unintentionally directing them towards your Basements or Weaknesses (and therefore working against yourself)? I talk a little bit about this in my video on CliftonStrengths Balconies and Basements. You may want to check it out to better understand how there’s two sides to every Talent Theme. Here’s that video:
Time: 10:20 minutes
Either way, whether you’ve made progress on your Goals or not, the focus here is to get an objective view of your progress and your approach thus far.
Focus on What’s Going Right
Now, I want to emphasize that in a Strengths-Based Approach, you want to focus on what’s going Right.
- Conventional Thinking focuses on what’s going wrong. It focuses on Weaknesses and how to fix them. But fixing Weaknesses avoids Failure; it doesn’t lead to Success.
- A Strengths-based Approach focuses on Strengths; it manages Weaknesses. So, you’re not ignoring your Weaknesses. You manage them. You just don’t emphasize or put the focus on them.
People get discouraged because they focus on where they are vs. where they want to be. They see the distance between the two as a Weakness or a Failure, and unfortunately, most give up too soon.
In a Strengths-based Approach, emphasize what’s going right for you. Keep your sights towards where you want to be.
- Any growth and progress are forward momentum towards your Goal. You want to grow that momentum.
- Take note of the patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior that have served you well thus far. Keep that going.
Ensure your Needs are Being Met
If you’re not as far as you’d like to be on your Goals, it could be that you’re working against yourself. For example, people don’t often think about their own Needs. Most don’t even know what their own Needs even are, so there’s no way they can ensure that their Needs are being met as they work towards their goals.
Each one of your Talent Themes has its own Needs. So, just as your Top 5 Talent Theme combination identifies you as 1 in 33.4 million, your mix of Needs is equally as unique. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t expect yourself to achieve the same results under the same conditions.
If you’re struggling to progress towards your goals, it’s possible that you have Needs that aren’t being met. So you may be getting tired, frustrated, or worse. There’s no way you can sustainably achieve or move forward on low energy.
Take advantage that your CliftonStrengths results reveal your specific Needs. I discuss this in my video on: How CliftonStrengths / StrengthsFinder exposes your Unique Needs. You can access it here:
Time: 8:54 minutes
This video includes a link with a Resource PDF listing the corresponding Needs per Talent Theme. You can use this insight to adjust your Approach.
Get an Outside Perspective
As you go through your goal review process, you may want to consider talking to others to get an outside perspective. Now, let me be clear here. Pick someone who you trust and who appreciates you for Who you are and How you are – not someone who thinks you should do things their way. Leaning into CliftonStrengths means honoring your Individuality and giving you the space to do things in a way that’s right and natural for you.
Let’s face it, you’re biased and you have blind spots. If you’re not as far along as you’d like to be or if you’re open to suggestions from someone who has a different Talent Mix than you, discuss your Goals and Progress thus far with others.
They may be able to:
- Give you insight or ideas you wouldn’t have come up with on your own
- Give you suggestions of tools, people, or resources that can help you
- Help fill some of your Talent gaps
You don’t have to do everything yourself. Having someone else help you may be one way to manage your Weaknesses.
Just remember that you still need to be true to Who You Are. That’s a critical part of CliftonStrengths-based work. You can take others’ input, but then check-in with yourself. Does it feel right for who you are and how you do things?
I certainly encourage you to challenge yourself to grow and stretch. Just don’t let someone discourage you altogether. Remember what I mentioned earlier about what the author Bronnie Ware said about the #1 Top Regret of the Dying.
Change Up your Talent Theme Approach
The best way to change your Outcomes is to change your Approach. Usually, people use the same Talents, the same Talent Theme combinations, and the same Strengths for the same tasks.
All of your Talent Themes are natural to you. What if you were to consider using different Talents or different Talent Theme combinations to change your Approach and manage your Weaknesses?
For example, if Themes #1, 2, and 4 usually dominate your Approach, what would happen if you considered Themes 3 or 5?
If you know your Top 10, you have even more Themes and combinations to experiment with. What would happen if you lead with Theme #7, or 8, or 10? How can a shift in how you use your Talent Themes give you new perspectives, new options, or new opportunities?
Intentionally choosing which Talent Themes you’re leaning into is a powerful strategy to using your CliftonStrengths Results. You’re going from passively knowing your Themes to actively directing them.
It takes some experimenting, but using different Themes and Theme combinations will open new doors and potentially new Strengths for you.
Keep the Bar High
No matter what your Goals are, I encourage you to persist. Don’t let yourself get discouraged by where you’re at or by what others may say or think. Reviewing your Progress is a great opportunity to adjust your Approach.
Take advantage of what you’re learning about yourself using your CliftonStrengths results. You’re not defined or limited by your results. And depending on how you use them, you may even develop new Strengths you’ve never considered before.
I wish you the best as you move towards your Goals.