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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: Ideation®

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

wall art that says "get the creativity flowing"; something one might paint on the inside of a soccer locker room if the team was full of players with CliftonStrengths Ideation talents.
Creativity for achieving goals.

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 Ideation® 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 Ideation® talents.

Each person with Ideation® 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

Uses moves no one ever thought of to get to 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.

  • Innovator. Team members with Ideation talents can be fantastic at thinking of or giving voice to unique approaches that may be based in disparate connections. They are keen to reimagine new approaches that originate in old ways of doing things. As a leader, consider positioning these talented individuals in places where they have freedom to think differently and surface brand new ideas. They may also make great contributors to teams that are "stuck" in their thinking or ways of doing things. Those with Ideation talents can help them break out of "old thinking."

  • Creator. Many may say that there are no new ideas. Team members with Ideation talents are often driven to disprove that notion. These talented individuals are keen to offer their vast array of new ideas in service to their team(s). They want to break the mold and offer the moonshot idea. They may be the first to admit that not all their ideas will work, but they are thrilled to get people talking and thinking differently. As a team leader, consider positioning these individuals in roles where they can be creative; particularly in areas where a new solution is needed to get a project or initiative to the goal line.


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

  • Pie in the Sky. Those with Ideation talents may have a tendency to get wrapped up in their ideas and not put enough thought into how to make their ideas actionable. If you lead someone with Ideation talents consider pairing them with team members who can challenge the validity of their ideas; this will push those with Ideation to clarify and strengthen their ideas.

  • Missing connections. Team members with Ideation talents may share their ideas for solutions without providing enough background. This can frustrate their fellow colleagues who want to understand but can see the same connections those with Ideation talents already comprehend. In your role as leader, help these talented individuals consider how to share their ideas so others can follow their train-of-thought.

Talent Combos / Position Modification

  • Strategic®: "The Creative Midfielder" - Those with Strategic talents often see multiple paths for achieving team success. In soccer, these individuals probably have most of the possible pass combinations already memorized and evaluated; the same goes for the world of work. Those who possess Ideation + Strategic talents can offer an extra layer of flexibility because after they evaluate the common paths forward, they will also create new possible paths. Look to these individuals to work in teams from the inside out; they will work with within their teams to exhaust all possible "standard" paths forward and then get creative to ensure the project gets completed; often enabling someone other than themselves to finish out the initiative.

  • Consistency®: "The Imaginative Attacking Defenseman" - On the surface those with Consistency + Ideation talents may seem like a paradox or contradiction-in-persona. What they actually are is a rare breed who know exactly when and where they are at their most creative. On the soccer pitch, this is the player that makes their most creative (best?) plays from the same general spot. In the working world, this individual might contribute their best work when you keep them on the same team, rather than shuffling them around to contribute to a lot of different teams or initiatives. By helping ground them in a consistent environment they may be inspired to find multiple ways to move forward from the same starting point.

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