How To Apply CliftonStrengths Ideation At Work

StrengthsFinder Definition - Ideation

Often people will ask us, "What does it mean to have the Ideation 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 Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena. 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 Ideation - 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 Ideation.

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 Ideation

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 Ideation

  • A role or company that focuses on doing what you’ve always done (unchanging practices and processes)
  • Being surrounded by closed-minded thinkers

Yays for CliftonStrengths Ideation

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 Ideation

  • Getting asked to contribute no-limits thinking
  • Working in an organization with a concerted innovation

How CliftonStrengths Ideation 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 Ideation

  • Impractical
  • All over the place
  • All talk, no action

How CliftonStrengths Ideation 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 Ideation

  • Navigator of ambiguity
  • Brings fresh perspective
  • Brings ideas to help unstick

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Ideation Feel

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 Ideation

  • Jump to execution before exploring ideas and possibilities.
  • Shut down the idea-generating phase fast because you feel too busy for creativity and innovation.

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Ideation 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 Ideation

  • Offer a blank canvas so there are no constraints on the thinking or options.
  • Build in creative thinking time.

Personal Brand - 'How' CliftonStrengths Ideation 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:

  • Discoverer
  • Insightful
  • Connector
  • Unbound
  • Stimulator
  • Fascinated
  • Designer
  • Creator
  • Innovator
  • Brainstormer
  • Spontaneous
  • Fast-Thinker

How To Invest In Your CliftonStrengths Ideation Talent On The Job

  • Yours is the kind of mind that bores quickly, so make small changes in your work or home life. Experiment. Play mental games with yourself. All of these will help keep you stimulated.
  • Seek brainstorming sessions. With your abundance of ideas, you will make these sessions more exciting and more productive.
  • Schedule time to read, because the ideas and experiences of others can become your raw material for new ideas. Schedule time to think, because thinking energizes you.
  • Discuss your ideas with other people. Their responses will help you keep refining your ideas.
  • Finish your thoughts and ideas before communicating them. Lacking your Ideation strength, others might not be able to “join the dots” of an interesting but incomplete idea, and thus might dismiss it.
  • Partner with someone with a strong Activator theme. This person can push you to put your ideas into practice. This kind of exposure can only be good for your ideas. Partner with someone with a strong Analytical theme. This person will question you and challenge you, therefore strengthening your ideas.

Tips For Managing Someone Who Leads Through The CliftonStrengths Ideation Talent

  • This person has creative ideas. Be sure to position them where their ideas will be valued. Whatever their role, try to make the most of their ability to design.
  • Since they thrives on ideas, try to feed them new ideas that lie within the focus of your organization. They will not only be more excited about their work but will also use these ideas to generate new insights and discoveries of their own.
  • Encourage them to think of useful ideas or insights that can be shared with your best customers. From Gallup’s research it is clear that when a company deliberately teaches its customers something, their level of loyalty increases.
  • They enjoy the power of words. Whenever you come across a word combination that perfectly captures a concept, idea, or pattern, share it with them. It will stimulate their thinking.
  • They need to know that everything fits together. When decisions are made, take time to show them how each decision is rooted in the same theory or concept.
  • On those few occasions when a particular decision does not fit into the overarching concept, be sure to explain to them that this decision is an exception or an experiment. Without this explanation they may start to worry that the organization is becoming incoherent.

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

  • Ask this person to partner with you when you need big, free flowing ideas.  If you ask them to bring a list of 100 crazy ideas, it will not be an outlandish request.
  • When the team needs free expression, no matter how aligned to company culture, use this person to come up with bold innovations.
  • Call on them when you need to find new and better ways of doing something.

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

Ideation 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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