How To Apply CliftonStrengths Individualization At Work

StrengthsFinder Definition - Individualization

Often people will ask us, "What does it mean to have the Individualization 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 Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how different people can work together productively. 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 Individualization - 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 Individualization.

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 Individualization

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 Individualization

  • Being asked to apply a one-size-fits-all approach
  • Treating every audience the same, or receiving a "template" presentation

Yays for CliftonStrengths Individualization

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 Individualization

  • Seeing the unique human potential in each person
  • Providing or receiving personally-relevant career development opportunities

How CliftonStrengths Individualization 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 Individualization

  • Sacrifices group for individuals
  • Rule disregarder
  • Inefficient catering to styles

How CliftonStrengths Individualization 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 Individualization

  • Talent spotter
  • Customizes to make relevant
  • Potential finder & nurturer

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Individualization 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 Individualization

  • Heavily invest in weakness fixing, especially on performance reviews and development plans where the "work on being someone else" view is institutionalized.
  • Being glued to job descriptions or standard operating procedures

Situations That Make CliftonStrengths Individualization 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 Individualization

  • Take chances on people by seeing a glimmer of potential and nurturing it to find out what it can become.
  • Set individual expectations that are relevant to each person.

Personal Brand - 'How' CliftonStrengths Individualization 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:

  • Astute
  • Insightful
  • Perceptive
  • Outlier Detector
  • Customizer
  • Anthropologist
  • Uniqueness-Spotter
  • Sees Who People Are
  • Observant Biographer
  • Customizer
  • Acceptor
  • Intuitive

How To Invest In Your CliftonStrengths Individualization Talent On The Job

  • Become an expert in describing your own strengths and style. For example, answer questions such as these: What is the best praise you ever received? How often do you like to check in with your manager? What is your best method for building relationships? How do you learn best?
  • Make your colleagues and friends aware of each person’s unique needs. Soon people will look to you to explain other people’s motivations and actions
  • Study successful people to discover the uniqueness that made them successful.
  • Help others understand that true diversity can be found in only the subtle differences between each individual, regardless of race, sex, or nationality.
  • Explain that it is appropriate, just, and effective to treat each person differently. Those without strong Individualization might not see the differences among individuals and might insist that Individualization is unequal and therefore unfair. You will need to describe your perspective in detail in order to be persuasive.

Tips For Managing Someone Who Leads Through The CliftonStrengths Individualization Talent

  • Ask this person to serve on your selection committee for any number of positions. She will probably be a very good judge of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ask her to help improve the organization’s productivity by figuring out the right roles for everyone according to their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Have her help design pay-for-performance programs where each employee can use his strengths to maximize his pay.
  • When you are having difficulty understanding a certain employee’s perspective, turn to her for insight. She can show you the world through the employee’s eyes.
  • When you are having performance problems with individual employees, discuss with her what might be done. Her intuitions about the appropriate action for each individual will be sound. Ask her to teach an internal training class or mentor a couple of new employees. She may have a knack for spotting how each person learns a little differently.
  • Look at her other dominant themes. If her Developer and Arranger themes are also strong, she may have the potential to be a manager or supervisor. If her strength lies in Command and Woo, she will probably be very effective at turning prospects into customers.

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

  • Ask this person to partner with you when you need to customize a solution for each customer.
  • When you need to figure out who would be a good fit for a particular role or responsibility, ask this person to help. They have a great sense for where each person contributes at their highest and best.
  • Call on them when you need to see what makes each person tick. In a company where everyone has been stereotyped, they can see each person’s meaningful, unique traits. For example, if the narrative at your company is that everyone in Procurement is rigid, they will help you see where each person’s differences are differentiators for your company.

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

Individualization 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 Strengths Conversations

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