Clifton Strengthsfinder: Now Online and All 34 Strengths Available


I'm a fan of the Clifton Strengthsfinderassessment from Gallup. If you have not taken the Clifton Strengthfinder to learn your top 5 strengths, I highly recommend that you do so.  

Until recently, it cost upwards of $400 to purchase your full profile of all 34 strengths in order.  To take the assessment and know only your top 5 strengths, you had to purchase a book and obtain a one-time-use assessment code.  Gallup recently changed its policy to make 2 important changes:

  1. You can now take the assessment online for $9.99 (the Strengths Discovery Package) without purchasing a book.
  2. You can choose to get all 34 of your strengths listed in order (not just the top 5) for $89 (the Strengths Development Package). You no longer need to purchase the coaching package that makes the cost prohibitive for many.  

Should you use these options? 

  1. Online versus book purchase.  I like having the books and think it's worth the cost. But for ease of use the online option is great.  My clients are busy and sometimes impatient for action. I think they will like this option. Used editions of the Gallup books with codes "harvested" by a purchaser who just wanted to take the assessment are generally available inexpensively through Amazon and other vendors.  Understand that these used books typcially don't have an assessment code. That's why they are so inexpensive.
  2. Top 5 for $9.99 versus all 34 for $89.  Unless you are a strengths wonk like me, I recommend sticking with your top 5 for $9.99.  From my perspective, that's 90% of the value of the assessment for 11% of the cost of the full 34.  You can and should spend a lot of time developing the top 5 before you even start to worry about the remainder.  The whole point is to focus on strengths.  Those at the bottom of your list are "non-strengths," exactly where you should not be focusing. If you do buy access to all 34, remember the key is to invest your efforts in developing your top strengths. 

Whichever option you choose, take this assessment and use the ideas for action contained in the report. It's a great way to leverage your strengths in your work and in your life.  

Want to Succeed in Law? Adopt an Ownership Mentality

Today's post comes from guest blogger, Laura McClellan, Partner, Thompson & Knight LLP

One of the keys to long-term success in a law firm (or, for that matter, any other business) is having an “ownership mentality.” Below are some thoughts on what it means to evidence an ownership mentality and specific behaviors that would evidence such a mentality.

First, having an ownership mentality means thinking constantly about how to ensure the business’s success.

  • An owner focuses on both the long-term, big-picture components of success, and the day-to-day issues of running a business. That is, an owner thinks about both the long-term task of building a practice and the day-to-day matters like how the electric bill will get paid
  • An owner’s thoughts about the business don’t stop at the end of the work day
  • The difference between an employee mindset and an owner’s mindset: An employee worries about losing his or her job; an owner worries about the business failing

Second, owners take personal responsibility for the business’s success. An owner knows that the business’s success will require his or her personal investment of time and money. Owners know that the buck stops with them. They don’t look to someone else to make things work.

  • Think as if you have no partners and the business’s success is entirely dependent on what you do. If you were practicing on your own, with no one to “get” work for you, what would you do on a day-to-day basis to make sure your business succeeds?
  • Owners are proactive. They don’t (because they can’t) wait for someone else to initiate business-building activity, but take the lead

Third, Owners constantly seek to understand their clients or customers and to look at the business from the client’s perspective. Owners understand that clients are the company’s reason for existence and therefore are indispensible to the firm’s success, and the company’s success or failure directly impacts the individual’s success or failure. Because they pay attention, owners know what clients want: top quality work product at a reasonable price. Owners are personally concerned with understanding and meeting each client’s needs. They pay attention to providing high quality work – giving every piece of work product their best thought, their best drafting, their most careful proofreading. In the law firm context, owners know that clients are concerned about the high cost of legal services; in response, an owner will work hard to spend an appropriate amount of time on the file by working efficiently.

As opposed to an employee mindset, an ownership mentality follows this overarching guide: Treat this business as if it is yours to inherit. Because it is.

Laura McClellan is a partner in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight LLP, where she focuses her practice on real estate and realestate finance. She is a fellow in the American College of Mortgage Attorneys and has been named in The Best Lawyers in America® by Woodward/White Inc. (Real Estate Law, 2012). Laura blogs from time to time at Real Estate Law Blog and can be reached at

What Elephants are Roaming Through Your Organization?

What do you need to be talking about in your organization that is only discussed behind closed doors? Last week I attended the Power of Self Leadership program and participated in an exercise called "Naming Elephants" based on the book of the same name. You've likely heard the saying that "there is an elephant in the middle of the room and no one is talking about it." The elephant is the obvious problem that we all know exists, yet don't mention, often because we fear retribution or embarrassment.  

Some common elephants:

  1. It becomes normal to deviate from the rules.  Everyone knows the meeting starts 10 minutes late. The deadline is not the real deadline. It's ok to run over budget; in fact it's good. You will get more money next year!
  2. Not walking the talk. A leader says that he values all opinions, but tunes out or retaliates when an opposing view is expressed.
  3. Arrogance becomes the norm.  The company has a policy about expenses.  Some adhere; others do not. Leaders claim a high level of ethics, but accept perks from vendors.   
  4. Clever talk is valued over action. The "game" in the organization is to sound smart, tear down other's ideas, use the biggest words. Results are underappreciated.
  5. The system is broken. Top leadership does not set the vision or micromanages rather than developing managers. Those whose job it is to serve customers, don't know what to do. Middle managers are pulled in multiple directions, accomplishing little.

What elephants roam your organization?  Here's a hint, what do people talk about behind closed doors? In the coffee room? On texts or emails during a meeting? Leave a comment or drop me a note. I would love to hear from you and share some common elephants on a future post.