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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: Intellection®

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

birds eye view of soccer fields as an analogy for the blueprints of soccer; just as those with Context love to understand the blueprints of a business.
Thoughtfulness impacting progress.

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 Intellection® 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 Intellection® talents.

Each person with Intellection® 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

Thoughtful thinking as you bring each project forward tends to lead to improved success.


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.

  • Brainpower. Those with Intellection® talents are constantly thinking. Some people spend time developing the muscles in their arms, torso, and legs. Those with Intellection talents are constantly thinking and developing their brain muscles. Their thinking is often wide-ranging and processing multiple thought threads at once. As these talented individuals can be particularly helpful in processing complex problems, leaders should consider positioning these individuals on teams that might be stuck, or so caught up in action that they've forgotten to think things through.

  • Quiet contributors. People who possess Intellection® talents may not seek attention or accolades. They often like their own company to ponder and digest information; seeking to make sense of the complex. As such, their contributions may be quiet, simple observations that all of a sudden propels the team or organization forward. Because many people with Intellection® talents like their own company, leaders should be wary of forcing team interactions, but instead provide them a wide perspective of the team and the organization so that they can think through all the angles and approaches.


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

  • Unfocused thought. Because those with Intellection® talents like to get lost in thought, they may also have a tendency to think about a lot of ideas that have nothing to do with their work or their team's work. This leads to a lot of "brain exercise", without much result. If you lead someone with Intellection talents, consider pairing them with someone with Discipline®, Focus®, or Learner® talents who can help them define and remain in a particular project scope or field of inquiry. This way, their brain energy can be best applied toward team initiatives or goals.

  • Solo artist. People with Intellection® talents tend to like their own company. Being alone provides them the best opportunity to think, without new input (and disruption) from others. However, this propensity for being alone may begin a process of self-segregation from their team. Their team may also become frustrated if these individuals are constantly thinking on their own, without sharing what they are thinking about. As a leader, consider how you can help these talented individuals succinctly present their ideas to their peers and colleagues.

Talent Combos / Position Modification

  • Input®: "The Informed Thinking Defensemen" - Those with Input® talents are adept at collecting a lot of different information and perspectives. Those with Input® + Intellection® combo set of talents have a special, deep knowledge bank upon which to think about. In our soccer model, this makes these individuals invaluable as they can help a team "defend" against a loss through knowledge and thought. Because they often carry deep company and industry knowledge and have the propensity to regularly think about it anew, they can be great teammates to help the team identify new opportunities or ways to move forward. This is practical knowledge applied.

  • Woo®: "The 'Social Thinker' Forward" - Those with Woo® talents are talented (and keen to) at building wide social networks by using what they know to win others over. Those possessing this rare Intellection® + Woo® combo of talents are likely to be adept at sharing what their thinking about to convince others to join their initiatives. These talented individuals likely won't demonstrate the usual "solo thinker" tendencies of most with Intellection® talents. Instead, they are more likely to access and use the thinking power of those in their social network. As a leader, you are likely to get the best out of these individuals by putting them in roles where they can access and build coalitions based on thought to move the team forward.

Game Film

Check out these videos from Gallup to learn more.

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