How To Apply CliftonStrengths Focus At Work

StrengthsFinder Definition - Focus

Often people will ask us, "What does it mean to have the Focus Strength?" First, know that StrengthsFinder will help you figure out your potential. We call them natural talents or natural patterns. We know you're here because you want to turn them into superpowers in your career, so here's the gist: People exceptionally talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act. Here's the full list of CliftonStrengths definitions so you can check out your other talents as well.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

CliftonStrengths Focus - Learn All About It

These 10-15 minute "Theme Overview" videos give you a peek into the awesomeness of your talent theme. They also explore the idea that talent themes represent potential, yet if they are not invested in, they might show up looking raw and unproductive at work.
These “Talent Deep Dive” videos explore the nuance of each talent theme. You’ll learn about its power and edge. You’ll consider potential blind spots. These are useful videos if you have this talent theme at the top of your list, or if you want to learn about a teammate who leads through Focus.

These Career Branding links help you apply your talents to your career. They give you examples of things you might be known for to help your personal branding at work. They also offer some watch-outs to know what situations and cultures can zap your energy.

Your Strengths Will Strengthen Your Performance At Work

In the next section, you'll explore what fuels you up and what drains you. Just like gas (or petrol) in your car, you need to keep your personal tank full to be at your best. Each StrengthsFinder talent theme is energized and drained by different things. When you see the stick figure who looks strong, you can consider how these things fuel you up at work. They're your energy makers. When you see the stick figure who looks weak, consider if these things are draining you at work. They're your energy takers.

Yucks for CliftonStrengths Focus

What's a Yuck?

It's a situation, condition, or behavior you might see at work that zaps your energy. Yucks are also things you see on your calendar or to-do list that make you think, "Yuck, if I never had to do that again I'd be thrilled."

Yuck Situations for Focus

  • Distractions and interruptions when they're in the middle of something
  • Going off on tangents in meetings or conversations

Yays for CliftonStrengths Focus

What's a Yay?

It's a situation at work that boosts up your energy or makes you feel productive. Yays are also things you see on your calendar or to-do list that make you think, “Yay, fill my days with this."

Yay Situations for Focus

  • Working on a project until it is finished rather than changing course regularly
  • Doing one thing at a time — keeping a singular, deep focus

How CliftonStrengths Focus Can Be Perceived When Starved

What's a Starved Talent?

This section describes how you might be perceived when the shadow side of your talent is showing. It’s when you’re overusing, misapplying, or squashing one of your natural talents rather than turning it into a strength. We often see people starve, squash, or ignore their talent when they assume it is not valued in that role or company culture.

Perceptions of Starved Focus

  • Miss the journey
  • Ignores people in favor of the goal
  • Single-minded or obsessive

How CliftonStrengths Focus Can Be Perceived When Fed

What's a Fed Talent?

This section describes how you might be perceived when the best version of you shows up at work. It’s when you’ve invested in your natural talents to mature them into strengths. You can feed your talent by considering “how” you approach each “what” on the job. When you apply your talents to productive outcomes, you’re feeding them.

Perceptions of Fed Focus

  • Intentional
  • Prioritized
  • Concentrated

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Focus Feel Insulted

What's An Insulted Talent?

Usually, talents get offended or insulted by other people who have natural preferences that are different from yours. It also happens if they fail to see their actions have an impact on someone else (you!). You can also insult your own talents if you have a "troublemaker strength" that speaks loudly and overpowers this one.

Things That Will Insult Focus

  • Celebrate or require multitasking or constant task switching.
  • Interruptions while in the flow. This includes instant messaging or in-person interruptions.

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Focus Feel Honored

What's An Honored Talent?

Usually, talents feel honored when other people acknowledge your needs and potential contributions. Talents feel honored when someone “extends an olive branch” to help you work at your best. You can also honor your own talents by investing in them, by choosing work that naturally calls on them, or by applying your strengths to performance on the job.

Things That Will Honor Focus

  • Support the use of purposeful blocks of time.
  • Set clear priorities for big initiatives; set a clear intent for meetings.

Personal Brand - 'How' CliftonStrengths Focus Operates At Work

Most people have a good handle on "What" they bring to the workplace. Resumes, CVs, and career development conversations are filled with lists of skills and job titles that show "what" you can do. Nearly everyone misses the "How".

Your Clifton StrengthsFinder talent themes help you communicate "How" you show up. It's how you think. It's how you feel. It's how you act. These are huge differences in each person that are differentiators on the job. Consider these adjectives you might want to consciously put into your personal branding efforts.

We recommend working a "How" description into the Summary section in your LinkedIn profile (if you don't yet use that section, don't worry, most people haven't paid attention to it until now). Of course, make up adjectives or phrases that describe you at your best. Try to avoid words like "motivated, self-starter" because they're so overused that you'll blend in with everyone else. Here are some ideas to spark your thinking:

  • Selective
  • Singular
  • Efficient
  • Persevering
  • Concentrated
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Monomaniacal
  • Prioritizer
  • Rudder
  • Intentional
  • Driven
  • Finisher

How To Invest In Your CliftonStrengths Focus Talent On The Job

  • When you set goals, discipline yourself to attach timelines and measurements. These will provide regular proof that you are indeed making progress.
  • Take the time to write down your goals and refer to them often. You will feel more in control of your life this way.
  • Seek roles in which you are asked to function independently. With your strong Focus theme you will be able to stay on track with little supervision.
  • Be sure to tell your manager your mid-term and short-term goals. This might well give your manager the confidence to give you the room you need.
  • Your greatest worth as a team member might be to help others set goals. At the end of each meeting, take responsibility for summarizing what was decided, for defining when these decisions will be acted upon, and for setting a date when the group will reconvene.
  • Identify your role models. Write down in detail why you want to focus your career toward similar kinds of achievement.
  • Allow others to think, act, and talk less efficiently than you do. Sometimes their “detours” will lead to discoveries and delights.
  • Stretch your goal-setting beyond work. If you find yourself becoming too focused on work goals, set goals regarding your personal life as well. These goals will give weight to your personal priorities and thereby help restore balance in your life.

Tips For Managing Someone Who Leads Through The CliftonStrengths Focus Talent

  • Set goals with timelines and then let this person figure out how to achieve them. They will work best in an environment where they can control their work events.
  • Check in with them on a regular basis, as often as they indicate would be helpful. They will thrive on these regular check-ins because they like talking about goals and their progress toward them. Ask them how often you should meet to discuss goals and objectives.
  • Do not always expect them to be sensitive to the feelings of others because getting their work done often takes priority over feelings. If they also possess Empathy, this effect will obviously be lessened. Nonetheless, always be aware of the possibility that they may trample on feelings as they march toward their goal.
  • They do not revel in situations of constant change. To manage them, use language that they can understand when describing the change. For example, talk about change in terms of “new goals” and “new measures of success.” Terms like this give the change trajectory and purpose. This is the way they naturally think.
  • When there are projects with critical deadlines, ask them to get involved. They instinctively honor deadlines. As soon as they come to own a project with a deadline, they will concentrate all their energies on it until it is completed.
  • Be aware that unstructured meetings will bother them, so when they are in a meeting, try to follow the agenda.

What To Consider When Partnering With A Colleague Who Leads Through CliftonStrengths Focus

  • Ask this person to partner with you when your team has been struggling with distraction. They can work with complete tunnel vision (in a good way) to follow a single course until you reach completion.
  • When you have a clear outcome, use this person to get it done. Don’t interrupt this person with hour by hour requests for updates. A constantly pinging instant messaging system will either be ignored or will suck the life out of someone with the Focus talent.
  • Call on them when you need someone to blitz a project with total focus.

Turn CliftonStrengths Focus Into A Strength This Month By Making It Your Phone Lock Screen

Focus Talent Theme LockscreenClick on this thumbnail image of your StrengthsFinder talent theme to link to the full size image. Then save it to your phone or mobile device as your lock screen.

That way, you’ll be reminded of your plan to focus on that talent…oh…about 98 times per day when you unlock your phone. What a great way to keep your intention front-of-mind! This will help you remember to invest in this talent theme so you can take the untapped potential and turn the natural talent into a strength.

Who knew wallpaper images could be so valuable to your career?! Here are all of the lock screen images if you want to grab an image for a different CliftonStrengths talent.

Gallup®, Clifton StrengthsFinder®, StrengthsFinder®, and each of the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

Take The 12-Week Strengths Challenge

Get stronger performance at work by using your strengths. The challenge is free. You'll get one email per week for the next 12 weeks with a simple question to uncover more of your hidden potential. If you can get your whole team to join along, you'll get crazy-cool insights about each other.

Note: if you're on this page because you're taking one of our strengths classes, you might also be getting an "Activation Course" with that program. This is a heads-up that signing up for this challenge would give you 2 strengths emails per week if you're already slated for the "Activation Course."

12 Week Challenge - Team Icebreakers

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