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The Sideline Blog

Just as sports players come to the sideline for rest and guidance, this blog is meant to provide you some insight and guidance as you explore your Strengths journey.

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  • Writer's pictureChad T. Ahern

Strengths Positioning: Focus®

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

A ball right before the goal with the focus on the ball; the only thing that matters is the ball.
Efficient pursuit of the goal.

Leaders, and colleagues, need to position people on work project teams effectively and efficiently to ensure work gets done and people stay engaged. A lot of leaders often spend too much time trying to guess where to put people because they don't have a point of reference.

What follows is a "scouting report" for those with Focus® talents, as identified via the CliftonStrengths assessment.

If you are a leader or a colleague of someone with these talents, consider how you can best position them in the context of your team and your projects. You can also use this as a discussion piece to find out how they see and use their Focus® talents.

Each person with Focus® talents operates differently. Make sure you're not missing out on their unique contribution.

Disclaimer: The following insights represent the author's opinions based on their understanding of the CliftonStrengths® themes. These are not statements created by or formally endorsed by Gallup®.

Scouting Report

Effective at pulling the team forward by keeping their eye and attention on the end goal.


Ways in which this team member can make a direct and immediate impact. Use these insights to consider where you place them on the team or in an organization.

  • Efficient driver. Those with Focus talents typically have one thing on their mind - reaching the team goal. It matters little how far away from the goal they are, the goal will drive all their actions. Because of this singular intent they are often interested in, and act on, the most efficient way forward. As such, they can be particular helpful teammates on projects that need to reestablish their sense of purpose and direction. Their ability to help others set goals and direction can help "pull" the team forward.

  • Prioritizer. These talented individuals are not usually interested in considering the trivial. If a suggested course of action does not directly address individual or team goals, then it's not worth the time or energy. As such, those with Focus can help teams eliminate the unnecessary. Because of this ability, they might be great contributors to:

    • Teams about to finish a goal. If a team starts to get "wide eyed" about what else they can do "in addition to the original goal"; someone with Focus talents can help to refocus them on the original intent & timeline. Once that goal is done, then the team can get wide-eyed, and those with Focus can move on to more pressing matters.

    • Teams that can't pull it together. Some teams can get so ambitious that they set too many goals and spread themselves too thin. Those with Focus can contribute to these teams by cutting through the noise and getting to the core issue and goals. From there, the team can move forward with renewed purpose and action toward the goals that really matter.


Ways in which people with this theme might "overplay" their talents.

  • Goal matters more. Those with Focus talents may have a tendency to become too absorbed about achieving the goal that they ignore or don't consider the feelings of others. They may need to be reminded that the goal will only be achieved through the actions of the collective team. As a leader, consider helping them partner with someone who can bring some relational energy & emotional awareness (e.g. Empathy®, Harmony®, Individualization®, or Includer®)

  • One thing at a time. Those with Focus talents may become too singular in their attention. While their ability and stamina to laser-focus on a singular project for extended periods of time is laudable, there may also be a need for them to handle multiple projects at once. Be sure to check in with them to ensure that they don't lose their awareness of the broader picture.

Talent Combos / Position Modification

  • Achiever®: "The Striking Striker" - There are those that have goals and then there are those who do whatever is necessary to achieve the goal. Those blessed with this Achiever + Focus talent theme combo will be intent on focusing on achieving one goal after another. It will not be enough to achieve a single goal; the quantity will matter as much as the speed and attention. Consider rotating these individuals around to teams on the cusp of achieving their goals. These individuals will bring a renewed sense of direction and purpose to a team that might be running out of steam, and the feeling of helping team after team achieve their goals will feed their Achiever® talents.

  • Connectedness®: "The Calculating Midfielder" - Most people with Focus talents see just the tree in front of them and miss the forest. Those who possess this blend of Connectedness® + Focus® talents are a rare breed who can often see how how their focus on one goal might have connections or implications for future or larger goals. On the soccer pitch these teammates might stand out as they make very intentional and accurate passes to their teammates; knowing that their one pass moves the ball closer to goal. In the workplace, leaders can position these individuals as important facilitators of action as they conscientiously focus their actions to set up the success of others in service of the larger goal.

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