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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: Strategic®

a soccer game plan whiteboard with highlighted path for the ball; sitting beside a workplace keyboard
Scenario. Select. Strike.

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 Strategic® 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 Strategic® talents.

Each person with Strategic® 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

Can see multiple paths to success and plays a key role in choosing, on the fly, the best path forward to achieve the 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.

  • Possibilities anticipator. Team members with Strategic® talents are keen to see, evaluate, and select paths forward at a rate faster than most. They play out options in their heads before making a move, but rather than focusing on the hurdles or obstacles (e.g. like those with Deliberative® talents), they focus on finding another way forward. On the soccer pitch, these individuals would focus on where space is created by the second, third, or even fourth pass once they distribute the ball. In the workplace, these Strategic talents might help a team anticipate what a competitor might do, what resources become available (or tied up), or the impact on other internal teams -- all in service to figuring out where their team needs to head next. If you lead someone with these talents, consider adding them to a team or project that is struggling to get off the ground; their talents can help create & evaluate alternative action plans that might not be apparent to others.


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

  • Over-evaluation. Those who dwell in their Strategic® talents too much may so thoroughly enjoy the phase of playing out "what ifs", that they do not actually move to action. They may also choose not to take action if they don't feel 100% confident in their selection. If those with Strategic® talents have a motto it's, "'What If', Select, Strike." Those who over evaluate can get caught up in moving from "what if" to "select." If you lead such individuals, make sure they have all the information possible as early as possible...and make sure they know there is an agreed upon timeline for action.

  • The "moving" plan. Those with Strategic® talents may have a tendency to keep modifying the plan as they see new (sometimes unexpected) options open up part way through a project. This can lead them to completely redraw the plan and start executing in a new direction. When they do so, they may not share their new plan with others, simply expecting everyone to see the new way forward just as they do. This can leave a lot of their teammates in the dark or moderately confused. To lead these individuals, help them pause to share their thinking so others can understand before moving forward.

Talent Combos / Position Modification

  • Ideation®: "The Attacking Maestro" - Those with Strategic® talents are keen to look a path of success after considering a multitude of complex factors. Those with Ideation® talents are keen to create new options & ideas from disparate sources. Individuals who have this unique Ideation + Strategic talents are likely going to be keen to quickly evaluate all the possibilities and if none of them get them to their goal, they will simply invent a new possibility. It's like watching a soccer striker see all his options taken away by the opposing defense, so s/he simply creates their own scoring opportunity option. If lead someone like this, consider involving them on teams that regularly encounter problems. Their ability to see new possibilities, or create new options, can help that team find renewed success.

  • Harmony®: "The Consensus Planner" - Those with Harmony® talents look to minimize team disruption by looking for consensus. Those with Strategic® talents are keen to look a path of success after considering a multitude of complex factors. Those with this blend of Harmony + Strategic talents are looking to look for the path of success that considers the needs & inclusion of many. On the soccer pitch, a person with this blend might favor a plan of attack that involves more people rather than one that just depends on a single star player. Work place team members with this blend are likely best represented by the African proverb, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Game Film

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