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Command: Learning to Love All 34 Talent Themes

Command: Learning to Love All 34 Talent Themes

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Theme Thursday Webcast Series
  • Season 1, Command
  • Learn how themes form the core of CliftonStrengths and how to understand and appreciate your own -- and others' -- strengths, as we focus on Command.

On a recent episode of Theme Thursday Season 1, we took a deep dive into the Command theme, with the help of Gallup's Curt Liesveld and Dr. Al Winseman.

People with strong Command bring decisiveness and emotional clarity. They have the ability to bring to light what is often avoided or unstated. This gives them the ability to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings.

Those who have Command as one of their Top 5 strengths might feel that they are especially unique, and they should. Only 5% of people in Gallup's strengths database have Command as one of their Top 5 strengths -- the lowest of all 34 CliftonStrengths themes.

Command falls into the Influencing Domain, which reflects its power to persuade people. Individuals with high Command like to be in control of situations. They tend to be highly assertive and thrive in opportunities when they can take charge.

Dr. Winseman thinks of Command as an energizing, persuasive, and inspirational theme. He explains that his Command is alive when other people are around. It gives him the willingness to lead others and inspire them with a confident vision of what they can be.

Individuals with high Command need to make sure they are in control of the theme. When used at the wrong times, Command can leave a wake of damaged relationships in its path. Dr. Winseman urges individuals with high Command to take charge when the time is right, but to keep their strong will under control to avoid hurting others.

To learn more about the Command theme and how people like Dr. Winseman use it in their everyday lives, watch the full video or listen to the audio above.

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup campus here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Theme Thursday, recorded on April 24, 2014.

Jim Collison 0:08

Theme Thursday is a new series where we dive deep into the Clifton StrengthsFinder themes, one at a time. Today's theme is Command. If you have questions, comments or contributions, we do have a live chat room available for you right below the main video window, if you're watching at And if you are listening to the recorded version, you can also email those questions to us as soon as the show is over. Don't forget to send those to You can also visit and get all the resources around strengths at the Gallup Strengths Center. You can send that, just visit that -- gallupstrengthscenter (all one word) -- for all your coaching resources and training needs. You can also catch the video in both streaming and downloadable audio now for offline listening to past webcasts over at If you'd like to live tweet with us during the webcast, you can do that as well; use #csfchat. That "CSF" stands for Clifton StrengthsFinder. And Curt Liesveld is our host today Curt works as an Advanced Learning and Development Consultant here at Gallup on the riverfront with me. Curt, it is great to see you, and welcome back to another Theme Thursday!

Curt Liesveld 1:10

Thank you, Jim. It's great to, great to be here. Great to be on the call with lots of strengths enthusiasts and Strengths Coaches out there. And I'm really excited today. We're going to be talking about Command, and I've got one of my favorite Gallup colleagues, Al Winseman, with me. He happens to have an office next door to me. Neither one are in our office right now. I'm working from my home and he's in one of our studios at Gallup for this call, so it's great to have Al. Al, thank you for being willing to do this!

Al Winseman 1:40

Oh, absolutely. Looking forward to it. This will be fun, Curt.

Curt Liesveld 1:43

And we're going to have Al talk, give us some, some Command "in living color" from his life, after I do kind of a brief overview of the theme. Command is a pretty rare theme. In fact, it is the most, it is the most rare theme of all 34; only 5% of our database have Command in their Top 5. And that's something I'm -- people always ask me why that is. And maybe that's something Al can explain later on. But we'll, we'll try to think about Command -- what it looks like in its, its raw form, what it looks like in its mature form. I think Command obviously is an, is a theme about Influencing. And there's lots of different kinds of influence. I think it is especially helpful in situations where there may be some resistance, where there may be some opposition. This doesn't mean "anti" but just, it's about persuading sometimes. It's getting people to go along with you and, and pushing people to do that. I think sometimes it helps to clarify a theme by contrasting it with another theme. So a pretty typical contrast is Command and Harmony. And I'm just guessing, Al, that Harmony might be Lower on your list.

Al Winseman 3:01

Oh, yes. It's down in the Bottom 5.

Curt Liesveld 3:04

Yeah, yeah. And that's, that's what I would call a logical pair, kind of a high Command, low Harmony. And, but it's interesting enough, both of these themes are about emotion. People with Harmony really try to manage strong emotion in order to maintain momentum. If we can get people to get along, we can keep moving. Whereas people with Command use strong, their own strong emotion to get something moving or to get someone moving. It's it's the use of emotional power and presence. And obviously, and I know Al's gonna talk about this a little bit, that's a pretty volatile ability. We need to think about using strong emotion productively and effectively but, but obviously it can make a big difference.

Curt Liesveld 3:58

Another couple of themes that you can contrast and compare would be Activator and Command. And I think Al's got some of both of those. So, but one is more about getting something moving, kind of going from zero to nothing. It's, it's creating momentum. The other one is a bit more about dealing with opposition when something is slowing you down, when something is pushing against you. And so, so that's just another way to think about it.

Curt Liesveld 4:29

Sometimes people like it when we come up with different words for this theme that help us to understand it. So words like "decisive" is I think a Command word, clarifier or clarifying, driven or driver, persuasive or persuader, challenging or challenger, assertive, take charge or control. A metaphor that I like for Command is fighter. Now that might not appear to be the best metaphor, but I often use the illustration of you can be a really good fighter, or you can be a bad fighter. And so if you think of the range of Muhammad Ali as a fighter, literally a fighter, who was perceive -- had a very positive reputation, I think, in our world. I mean, he kind of gets to hang around with world leaders. I think he helped open up some of the Olympics. He was perceived in a positive way, even though he was a fighter. On the other hand, and I hope he's not online here, is Mike Tyson. Here was a fighter that was known for biting people's ears off. So you see the range of how people can be fighters and how they might be perceived in a positive way, or a negative way.

Curt Liesveld 5:58

I like to think about some, some sayings that, that sometimes help to capture the essence of, of this theme. So, for example, "When the when the going gets tough, the tough get going." That's, that's kind of a Command saying. One of the things that I've often said about Command is that it's people who are most comfortable when they're in the driver's seat. It's really about people who are good at taking charge and bringing control. And I think sometimes "control" has a bad name, as if being out of control were a preferred state. And these are people who know how to bring some control and some, some order to, to the world.

Curt Liesveld 6:49

You know, something that I've always wondered, and this may be something people with chat can kind of think about: Is there a, is there a fictional character, either in TV or movies or literature that somehow represent this theme? And I'm -- so if there's anybody out there, if that's something you want to start chatting about, and then maybe Jim can let us know which one of these things has kind of -- if anybody comes up with some new ones. Another one might be a song, a theme song: Is there a song that kind of captures the essence of, of what Command could look like?

Curt Liesveld 7:27

Let's see, what else? I think something else that I think is important to think about is the the themes that are most often paired with Command. The theme that's most often paired with Command is Strategic. And, and it makes some sense that it would be that way. The themes that are least often paired with Command are Discipline and Developer. And again, that might be something that we can kind of talk with -- and -- with, with Al about as well.

Curt Liesveld 8:01

You know, I think that's probably enough of my just overview here. I think people enjoy it most when we get to talk with the, with the people who have this theme and we can see it in living color. So, so Al, let me just first of all say -- ask, let me just ask you, How do you think -- can you give me some examples of how Command has helped you in your life? And this can be your personal life, your professional life. What are some examples of where Command has really made a positive difference?

Al Winseman 8:35

Yeah. Hey, thanks, Curt. It really is a pleasure to be on this today. I love these Theme Thursdays and I love talking about themes. And, and I really appreciate the the opportunity to talk about Command which, you know, I think is one of the, one of the least understood themes. Because a lot of times, a lot of times we, we hear Command described in the basement of Command, rather than the balcony of Command. But how Command has helped -- and I love your image of being in the driver's seat. And while you were talking about about that, it just makes perfect sense because you and I travel so much for our, for our, for our jobs as Learning and Development Consultants. And we have colleagues who prefer, once they get to the airport, to take a cab to the, to the hotel or to wherever they're, they're there. They're conducting their, their sessions. Well, that's not me. I need to rent the car so that I can drive there because I need to be in control of where I'm going, when I'm going to get there. And I need to be able to leave when I want to.

Curt Liesveld 9:46

Literally you want to be in the driver's seat, not just figuratively!

Al Winseman 9:49

I am the one in the driver's seat, so -- but, but it really is -- I think about Command. And I like what you said about presence. And Command -- Command to me and how I see that working, and you talk about being being paired with Strategic. I have Ideation, Futuristic, Maximizer, Strategic and Command. So, absolutely, so, so how that works is I can, I have, I have a plan, but I also know that I need to implement that plan and I need to lead that plan. And so how Command has really helped me -- and I think it's, it's in terms of presence and persuasiveness. I think of Command as, as an energizing, persuasive and inspirational theme. Command -- at least, the way I look at it and the way it's worked for me -- is, is for my Command to be alive, I've got to have other people around. It's about leading other people. And it's also inspiring them with a vision of what they can be and giving them the confindence.

Al Winseman 10:59

And I think that's probably one of the, the greatest benefits that I see of Command, at least my experience of it, is being able to inspire confidence in others. And that's the thing about Command, it's, it's, "We can do this." And, and "Trust me, because I've seen greatness in you. And because I've seen it, I know that we can do great things together and we can accomplish things that we never dreamed possible. And here's how we're going to do it." And it's, it's one of those things that I've seen. It is, it's, as you said, it's about overcoming obstacles.

Al Winseman 11:37

So I think in one of my, one of my former lives as, as a pastor and a new church in a new church plant, which is, you know, here's a vacant lot in a phone book, go start something. And gathering a group of people together and sharing the vision of them of what, what this is going to be like and what we can accomplish together. And then, and then inspiring that confidence to be able to pull all of these things together, when, and, and overcome a lot of the difficulties that are in the way. So I think that there's that sense of persuasiveness that comes with Command and inspiring confidence in others.

Curt Liesveld 12:15

You know, I like the way you describe that -- the persuasion and inspiring, because, to some degree, the resistance that you probably faced when you were starting something new, a new church, was fear. I mean, people are afraid. That's almost the enemy is, is the fear. And if you can somehow inspire people, help them to see -- it's almost rising above -- it's not that, it's not that you're never afraid, but I think, to some degree, people with Command kind of rise above their fear. They're not, they're not controlled by their fear. I think, I think that's a great way to say it.

Al Winseman 12:53

And I think, too, thinking about it, too, in terms of some of the clients that I, that I've worked with in my 14 years here at Gallup. You know, I really enjoy difficult challenges. And I think that that's because Command is, is that sense that I can overcome this. I can persuade you that, that what we are presenting here and, and the concepts and the, the life transformation that we're offering here -- I can persuade you to take advantage of that. And I like going into -- it's kind of a challenge to go into, to a hostile room and win them over. You know, I have very low Woo, but Command is about, "I'm going to convince you."

Curt Liesveld 13:38

Yeah, you like the challenge.

Al Winseman 13:39

I love the challenge.

Curt Liesveld 13:41

You need a challenge. I mean that, so that word "challenger" is something that kind of fits. I'm really curious. And obviously we've talked about how Command is a not a very dominant or pronounced -- not a very frequent theme, not a very dominant theme in our database. And people always wondering about that. And sometimes my -- I wonder sometimes if somehow we, we somehow parent out, educate out Command, because in its raw form, it, it's, it's maybe kind of scary. I want you to talk a little bit about what your Command looked like when you were 8 years old, 10 years old, 12 years old. What does young and raw -- what does your, from -- in your recollection, what did those things look like in their raw form in your, in your life?

Al Winseman 14:35

Yes. I think back on that. And thinking about Command and some examples of of that, I think that it's been in terms of leadership, and taking charge of situations and thinking about friends and deciding what we're going to do and what we're going to play and who's going to be doing what and who's who -- and there's always kind of that willingness to step up and take charge like that.

Al Winseman 14:59

But there's also the, the innate sense -- and I don't know how this has worked with other people with Command -- is that you got to be careful. Because, as you said, it's, it's an emotionally explosive theme. And there is that, there's that emotion that comes with Command that can be used for good or for ill. And so you've got to, you've got to -- and "control" is a really good word. So you've got to control it. And because -- and I've used this in seminars that I've led before and programs that I've done talking about Command that I've seen Command splatter all over people and and leave a trail of human bodies in its wake. And that's, that's the destructive power of Command. And that's where, you know, we've -- it's that superpower. You know, we've been given superpowers; are you going to use them for good or for evil?

Al Winseman 15:55

And so raw Command is, is in its, in its "using for good" form is stepping up and taking charge when charge needs to be taken. But it also can be, it can be hurtful. So you've got to really -- and so early on, I kind of recognized that about myself. And, and that that, you know what, I've got this emotional explosiveness, you know, that's part of that that I need to, that I need to aim in the right direction.

Curt Liesveld 16:36

You know, I was thinking that in -- as you described this situation as an 8-year-old, OK, what are we going to play? What are we going to do? It's kind of like the Alpha dog. If you've ever seen a litter of puppies and there's one that kind of, you know, kind of takes charge to some degree and kind of leads the pack a little bit. And so I think -- but, but I wonder sometimes if, if we, if what happens sometimes is we see -- and I don't get the sense that your parents kind of tried to kind of squelch this out of you. It's, it was more kind of your own understanding. But I wonder sometimes if, if parents of strong-willed children put a lid on it to try to control that and what kind of happens? I'm just kind of guessing about this. But I wonder if that might have something to do with why there's not as much of this?

Al Winseman 17:28

Oh, I think so. Because, because, you know, it's kind of that mixed message we send kids. "We want you to grow up and be independent and assured, but we don't want you to do that with us." If you're, you know, strong-willed is not particularly, is not used in a particularly positive sense when we talk about strong-willed children. And so, yeah, "strong-willed" is such I think a good description of raw Command.

Curt Liesveld 17:57

I just want -- do you remember how your parents nurtured that in you? Because I consider you having a healthy, mature version of Command. Do you remember any things that your parents might have done?

Al Winseman 18:11

I think my parents -- and it's really interesting because my father was one of Don Clifton's last doctoral students at the University of Nebraska before Don started his own company. And so I kind of grew up with, with the idea of talent and strengths and Individualization, all those kinds of things. So I think it was trying to provide opportunities to lead. Now I think, again, I think some of the things that they did was encouraged that kind of creativity and encouraged leadership. But I think they also helped me put boundaries around acceptable behavior, you know, because --

Curt Liesveld 18:55

How did they do that?

Al Winseman 18:56

Well, just because you have Command does not, is not an excuse to be rude. You know, it's how you treat people. And, and it's kind of instilling the values. And I think that that's that really, we've talked about this before, that the values really kind of shape how you use your themes. And that the idea that -- and it's something that, you know, comes from one of the philosophers, but I remember my father saying, you know, "The people are not the, are not ends to be used towards a goal; people are the goal." And he really lived that out and instilled that in us and, and my mother as well. And so, and so it's always -- it's about how you use what you've been given. And, and it's, it's, creating that sense of, of who you are is to be used for the good of other people. And I think that that, that others orientation rather than self-, self-orientation, I think that that's something that my parents did for me to be able to help me, I think, focus that Command. Now it doesn't mean I don't fall in the basement every now and then.

Curt Liesveld 20:01

Sure, yeah, no, I understand. But I just know that you have a -- you've, you've developed, you've, you're, you're a great example of someone who uses this productively and effectively. Let's kind of switch gears a little bit. Let's, let's move to thinking about you in a different role, not the role not just of leader of a group of people that you're leading or leading an organization, but leading your family. I want you to think about how has Command helped you to be a better parent?

Al Winseman 20:31

Wow. I think Command -- one of the things that I learned about Command is the -- that made sense to me once I heard it is the protective nature of Command. Is that people with Command tend to be very protective. And, and that is protective of those they love. Now I have Relator No. 6, so I look at Command 5, Relator 6 is I protect those whom I love. And so being protective of them, but also at the same time of, of wanting your kids to grow up to be independent, you can't do everything for them. But you want to kind of create a safe world for them where they can grow and develop and, and to protect them.

Al Winseman 21:16

It's also about, I think, in terms of, of encouragement, of being able to and growing up kind of with a talent orientation and understanding that. And I think Command in terms of, of parenting helps me to, I think, inspire belief in my children in themselves.

Curt Liesveld 21:41

Yeah, it's kind of what you talked about earlier, inspiring and persuading: "You can do this!"

Al Winseman 21:45

Yeah, "You can do this! You can do -- I've seen you do this." And it's, and it's kind of, because I believe in you, you can believe in yourself. And, you know, I think that that may be what Command does is Command is, is, "Hey, I believe in you. And here's why. And I'm gonna inspire you, try to inspire you to be everything that you can be. And I'm going to try to create that place where you can grow and develop and become confident."

Curt Liesveld 22:13

Did it help, did it, did Command help you -- did you push your kids occasionally when they maybe didn't want to go forward?

Al Winseman 22:22

Now, now it's interesting, because our older daughter didn't take much pushing because she, she pushed herself. But I think part of it with younger, with our younger daughter, who's, who is a very, very different set of themes than our older daughter, some of it was, "I know you can do this. Let's just" -- and, and I think in particular, around, around geometry, when she was, you know, I think a freshman or sophomore in high school. And it was so difficult for her, and, and a lot of it was she made it difficult for herself. But it's kind of like, "Look, I know, let's just get through this. You don't have to get an A in this class; just let's just get through it, and then you can, then you can spend all of your time on English and doing the things that you're really, really good at. But you've got to get through this and I know you can do it."

Al Winseman 23:19

And so it's, it's helping them and giving, giving her the, I think, the confidence to say, "You know what, I can do this. And I don't have to be perfect at it, but I know I can do it well enough to get by." And, and I think that that, that is I think that's part of Command of the, of the pushing through inspiring confidence maybe.

Curt Liesveld 23:42

Did you -- do you think your kids were ever intimidated by you? ... I should ask them.

Al Winseman 23:52

Yeah, you should ask them. I, I don't --

Curt Liesveld 23:54

How did you keep them from being intimidated? is probably a better question.

Al Winseman 23:58

Yeah, I think, one of the things that I, that I look at the kind of reg -- that self-regulation of Command is that for me, Relator trumps everything. OK? And so, and so, so that the relationship -- particularly those deep relationships that I have -- trump everything else.

Curt Liesveld 24:20

I think that's a good example of what we've been trying to think about is, What can you add to a theme that kind of tempers a thing, takes the edge off. So what you're saying is, Relator is one of the themes that takes an edge off, off a theme. What's a theme that really kind of sharpens your Command, that makes it even more powerful, more, maybe more intimidating, more, more forceful?

Al Winseman 24:44

Yeah. I think -- I think the, the combination -- a couple of combinations. One, one is is Futuristic and Command. Futuristic and Command. You know, I have Futuristic No. 2. So Ideation, Futuristic. So Futuristic and Command. I have -- I am low Positivity, which surprises a lot of people sometime, until I tell them -- until you get to know me; then you know how negative I really am. But my Futuristic and Command looks like Positivity because I have a vision of the future. And my Command says, "Absolutely we can get there! We can do this!" And so it's a very kind of positive and, and it really makes the future happen. I think Command makes the future happen for me.

Curt Liesveld 25:35
Yeah. And both the future can be scary for people because it's the unknown. And yeah, so the combination of those could be, could be pretty powerful.

Al Winseman 25:47

And Ideation and Command too, because -- and that can be dangerous because I always have ideas. And those with Ideation, you know, you've got to kind of hang on to the table because you don't want to dominate the conversation with your ideas. But also with Command, you can't rest until you've, until you've shared your opinion and my opinion is all about my ideas. So I've got to, I have to, I -- and then with Activator in there as well I've got to activate on my ideas, take charge, tell you what I think, and this is what we're going to do and why it's great. So it can really give it an edge that I kind of have to be careful with.

Curt Liesveld 26:23

What --Jim, do we have any questions that are out there, or comments from our audience?

Jim Collison 26:28

Yeah, we do, quite a few. So Amy asked early in the program, she says, "Command shows up in my leadership report but not in my [CliftonStrengths] 2.0 report." So that's not the question though. We know sometimes if you take them, you take them multiple times, you can get different results, or slightly different results. So her question that was good: She says Activator and Connectedness were in one, and Command and Analytical were in the other. So Curt, as you think about that Activator-Connectedness versus Command-Analytical in in those, how can she, as we reconcile those two groups have pairs, any thoughts on that?

Curt Liesveld 27:02

Well, I don't know if I, if I need to reconcile; she, she could be all of those things. I mean, it could be that she's Connectedness, she's Activator, she's Command, and she's Analytical. So I don't -- I'm not sure that one substitutes for the other one. But I certainly can see that those things could, could kind of coexist in a person. Activator and Connectedness is a little bit like I'm pushing for some kind of global, global vision as well. It's kind of almost the values -- pushing for a values and Command and Analytical. Yeah, I don't know if I really have a good answer. Al, I don't know if you have an answer to that.

Al Winseman 27:44

Yeah, I think, well, I think if you if you look at kind of the Activator-Connectedness is and Command and Analytical, those kinds of things, putting those together, there's a lot of thought that goes into things. But there's also the sense, there's also the sense too that you've, that you've got to do something. I look at Command and Activator as kind of movement themes. Whereas Connectedness and Analytical, you, you, they're kind of internal and give some thought to it. But eventually you got to do something. Activator, you've got to do something. And Command is you've got to be in charge of doing something.

Curt Liesveld 28:28

Yeah, that's a good way to say it. That's a great way.

Jim Collison 28:30

Good summary. Kim asks, "What does someone need to know to lead a staff well that, that have Command when they as a leader do not have Command? So you're working with some folks that have it, but you, as a leader, don't.

Curt Liesveld 28:45

I'll kind of answer this a little bit and say what I think, and then Al, you can -- I think, to some degree, if you're leading someone that has Command is, is, it might -- you might be easily intimidated by them. You might, kind of, they might be able to kind of take, take control when they're not need to. So you might have to be, I often find you have to find your own backbone to deal with them. Because I think, and I've heard you say this Al, I think, to some degree, people with Command like to be pushed back against. They, they really respect people who are assertive and tell the truth. And they want to, they like that kind of clarity. So I think, don't be afraid to, to be clear, to be direct with that person because they really enjoy that. Al, maybe you can say about that, too.

Al Winseman 29:37

Yeah, that's, that's a really good point. And one of the things I've found in Command -- and you're right, at least for my Command is Command expects pushback and, and likes pushback, because that's when you get, get the clarity, OK, and you, and you've got the pushback. However, Command doesn't -- because of the very nature Command, doesn't necessarily invite pushback or you can -- doesn't invite pushback by their very countenance, OK? And so because of who you are, you're not going to, people aren't going to naturally want to push back. Because when you, when you're talking, it sounds like, "I don't want any argument." But when in reality you do. So I like the idea of finding your own backbone.

Al Winseman 30:19

The way I kind of manage that as a leader is I, when I, in leading groups, and a lot of times I'll, I'll talk about what I'm thinking, but then I'll say, "I don't know. I could be, I could be wrong about this. Tell me what you think." And so I have to invite that pushback. Now the person on your team who has Command that you're leading may not, may not say that. But in all likelihood, they're thinking that, or at least something's going on, saying, "What about some, you know, what, what's going on that I can, that I can, that I can think about? And what can you, what can you share with me? So it's about -- I like your idea of "Find your own backbone." Because Command expects and respects pushback.

Jim Collison 31:06

All right, very good. Adrian asks this question, or it's more of a statement but there's a question in here: "Perhaps Command in its raw form is a bully. Those who don't mature in this theme operate at the basement level and workplaces bullies." Curt, any comments on that?

Curt Liesveld 31:21

Yeah, no, absolutely. I think that can be kind of the bullies, the rebels, the, you know, we hear a lot about bullying in schools. Maybe it's a good thing that we have, maybe that there's not as much Command. But, but I think, I think bullies could be transformed into leaders. I think that they are, they are leaders waiting to be matured, to some degree. I think that's the possibility. But I, but I do think that's -- that those are some of the kind of the negative labels that could apply to someone with immature, kind of unseasoned Command is they could be bully. They could be kind of bossy. They could be, you know, those are things. So absolutely.

Jim Collison 32:05

Curt, let me ask you this question. And this is kind of just for me. So Jim asks this question, He says, "So when we use the word 'raw form, you know, I've heard that a lot, right? Is 'raw form' necessarily always a basement? When we talk about balconies and basements, is the raw form always basement, or -- ?"

Curt Liesveld 32:19

No, I think that's, I think that's a good question. I think part of it is just normal. I think when people are young, they are raw. Part of it's, they just don't have the knowledge, or they -- like Al kind of made some discoveries early on about, I need to be careful with this part of me. There's something strong. And he was able to kind of come to that understanding, and that knowledge, to some degree, helped him live that better.

Curt Liesveld 32:45

So I, I agree. I think sometimes we can't judge young people who are strong-willed too quickly. It's just part of being young sometimes. So yeah, I don't think that necessarily "raw" means the same thing as "basement." I think "basement" is a bit more about when you're, when you're older and you just have not learned, ever learned to kind of productively apply this part of who you are.

Jim Collison 33:17

OK. Al, any thoughts on that?

Al Winseman 33:19

Yeah, I would agree. I think that, that the raw form -- and when we were talking about this, and that was a great question that Curt asked when he started thinking about, you know, young at 7, 8, 9 years old. And I think part of the raw form of Command was taking charge, showing some leadership. Now, it's not fully developed, but it isn't negative either. But it is kind of that, that emergence of, of taking control and taking charge of a situation when, when that needs to happen.

Curt Liesveld 33:51

Yeah, "raw" sometimes does not necessarily mean destructive. It may simply mean awkward. Or it may be ill-timed. There's a time -- a better way to kind of take charge. How do I, and, you know, when you're, when you're 7 years old, and you said, "OK, this is what we're going to play." That, that might be just a bit awkward, and it could have -- people might have let Al do that. But I think he's gotten better at doing that over the years.

Al Winseman 34:21

I hope so.

Jim Collison 34:23

Well, and we don't necessarily, you know, we've talked -- with Command, and Curt, I'll, I'll throw this to you real quick, Command oftentimes gets that negative. You know, we talk about themes as being neutral, right. And Command is one of those themes that goes negative a lot.

Curt Liesveld 34:38

Yeah. And I'm convinced that part of it is because it is -- I call it a minority theme. And when something, when things are rare, they are more easily kind of misunderstood, because we don't have the experience with that. It's, and I think it's when, when they are stereotyped. Minorities are stereotyped, and think the same thing happens with minority themes. Since there aren't as many of people who have this, we -- it's different, so we perceive it in a more negative light. And that's really what I, I want these calls to, I want people to kind of leave understanding the value of Command and the value of Self-Assurance, even though they're kind of delivered that way. It, it -- Command has value, and we want to make sure people see that.

Jim Collison 35:26

Curt, it's a lot different to doing Theme Thursday from your house than it is when do it here in the office, isn't it?

Curt Liesveld 35:31

Yes, it certainly is different doing it from my house!

Jim Collison 35:34

All very good. All very good. Well, I think that's important to remember right, is, is Woo gets put in the same category sometimes. It gets, "Oh, there, here comes the Woo!" or "Oh, here comes the Command!" And, you know, it's implied "Oh, here's the basements," right? They're all just coming out. And yet, you know, you think of there are situations -- and Curt, maybe you could talk about this real quick -- there are some situations where Command is needed and is very positive.

Curt Liesveld 35:59

Oh, yeah! I often say, People with Command are often very good in emergencies. Partly is they're usually not intimidated easily themselves. The other thing is they are decisive. And in an emergency, it's really important to make decisions pretty quickly and not being afraid to make decisions. And so, I mean, I do a lot of work with people in healthcare and have worked with people in ER rooms. And one of the things that I've noticed is that you see quite a bit of Command in ER rooms. And so I tell people with Command, "Boy, you're really good in an emergency. But guess what, everything isn't an emergency."

Curt Liesveld 36:37

The, the same kind of directness and decisiveness that you use in an emergency-room situation is not necessarily the kind of decisiveness and directness that you might use in a nonemergency situation. So getting sophisticated in how you leverage that theme, and that's where I think it's so important to think, 'What can I add to this theme?" You know, Jim, I think you have, you have Command pretty high; is that, right? That's no. 6?

Jim Collison 37:02

7 or 8, I think is for me.

Curt Liesveld 37:04

And, you know, I just never knew you had Command. Because, partly, you've got some other things that really temper it. You've got Woo, you've got Positivity. There's a, there's a warmth that you wrap around the, the, that kind of power and authority of Command that really, to some degree softens it -- not, not necessarily softens the effect, but softens the experience of Command. And I think that's part of what might be something that would be helpful for coaches or people that have Command to think about: What can I add to this theme that, if I want to change the effect -- the experience of this theme and the effect of this theme, I might think about experimenting with adding another theme to it.

Jim Collison 37:49

Al and I were talking, just before we went live on the preshow, you know for Command, it works out for me, in the absence of leadership, I will always fill in, right. And AI, talk a little bit about that, right. Because the Command can't stand no one being in charge. Right? They have to kind of step up and fill that role.

Al Winseman 38:06

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's -- and that's, that's the thing I've noticed about Command is that Command respects good leadership. And is-- and I'm perfectly comfortable to let somebody else lead if they're doing it well. And, and if there's no leadership and then and leadership needs to be taken, I often say I'm not afraid to take it. And it is kind of that jumping in when things need to happen.

Al Winseman 38:33

I think the other thing, too, is that one of the things I look at my Command. Command is -- because of the, the not easily intimidated, and I think about that in terms of, of relationship, professional relationships I've had, but also to not being intimidated is if there's not a challenge to be met, I get a little bored. Cause I like challenges and I like to take risks because there's a challenge involved. And it's, and it's like, Give me something new to learn, give me something new to do. And, and I think that, Curt, you know, and this has really sparked a lot of thinking in me. I never did things the easy way. You know, the, in learning things and in trying things, I always took on the most difficult challenges I could think of. I always looked at the things that would be hardest for me to accomplish to try to master. And I think that had a lot to do with Command. Because it is, "I want to do this, and I want the challenge." And so I think about you, you said something about "driven." Yeah. In a certain respects, I am driven because I look, I look for challenges, and I really love a new challenge.

Curt Liesveld 39:54

Yeah, and I think it's another almost, it's similar to Competition that way in that it's an external kind of driver. The, the source of the motivation is outside of you, the, the resistance, the opposition, the challenge, whatever it is, and, and those things to some degree bring out the best in you. And so, so you look for those particular places.

Al Winseman 40:17

Absolutely. The challenges bring out the best.

Curt Liesveld 40:20

Yeah. Jim, did anybody come up with any kind of a fictitious, fictitious character that is represented -- anybody? Did we get any --

Jim Collison 40:30

You know, it defaulted to Hitler and those kinds of leaders, right, which is that negative. I was, I was kind of pointing towards that with the negative.

Curt Liesveld 40:39

Yeah, yeah, that's what we would -- I want to get a positive picture of these there so people can kind of put some of these things on Facebook if they come up with. And I'd rather it be fictitious, as opposed to a historical figure because there's something about fictitious things that I think are maybe more instructive. And obviously we don't know if Hitler had Command or not. He's a real person, but I really -- that's why I think movie characters, literature characters, people and -- on TV characters, just so that we get some pictures of what this could look like kind of at its best.

Jim Collison 41:16

Yeah, for sure. One more question let's cover before we wrap this up for the day. And actually, both John and Ryan ask this question. And I'll read Ryan's question. He says, "As one with Command in my Top 5" -- well, actually, no, let me read this question. "How do you see Self-Assurance and Command reinforcing each other? So both those, and then Ashley asks, "Can Command and Self-Assurance be too intense of a combo?"

Curt Liesveld 41:43

They, there, they are an intense combo. But you know, sometimes an intense combo is needed. I wouldn't suggest that they are necessarily "bad." They are, they are 2 themes that sharpen each other, kind of like when iron, iron sharpens iron. I think this is a great example of that. When you've got both of those, you've got a, an internal confidence and a kind of a certainty about you. And you've got this, this kind of attraction to meeting external challenges. There are times and places when that could be very valuable. I think you have both of those, Al.

Al Winseman 42:18

I do. I have Self-Assurance No. 9, and, and sometimes it pops up into my Top 5. But, so, you know, I like to say jokingly that when my Command and Self-Assurance are working together, I can be absolutely insufferable. Because the Self-Assurance is that inner certainty, the inner certainty and confidence about the direction that I'm taking. And Command knows that I can bring others along and inspire them to get us there, and we can meet any challenge -- meet any resistance.

Curt Liesveld 42:53

Yeah. I think, to some degree, Command acts -- is actually makes it more influential. I think, to some degree, a person with Self-Assurance can think, "I think I'm right." But they may not do anything about it. They may, it's more internal in a sense. I'm confident in my own abilities, but I think Command could actually, I think they both could add value to each other, to tell you the truth.

Jim Collison 43:19

Curt, so you jarred some people's creativity.

Curt Liesveld 43:23

All right! Good!

Jim Collison 43:24

We have some coming in Colonel Potter from M*A*S*H. Iron Man. So, you know, Tony Stark.

Al Winseman 43:32

Oh, yeah, Tony Stark.

Jim Collison 43:34

The actor who plays that, right, his personality, he's already that way. Right. He, he, it's so funny, as an actor. He doesn't have to play anybody. Yeah, Robert Downey Jr., it's just -- he is Iron Man, right.

Curt Liesveld 43:48

Yeah, just the name sounds like Command.

Jim Collison 43:51

He's just in charge. Somebody mentioned King Arthur, Captain America. These are all these are all, a lot of military in there, you know, Command fits that military structure very well because orders have to be given and not questioned. And so a Command --someone high in Command would that -- they would, they would do well in those kind of circumstances.

Curt Liesveld 44:13

Yeah. Good.

Jim Collison 44:15

So, very good. Well, Curt, they're asking, "Who's in the recliner behind you?"

Curt Liesveld 44:22

That's my wife, who has Command as well. She doesn't know she's on the camera.

Jim Collison 44:28

She's gonna be internet famous by the time we're done here. Curt, anything else? We're at the end of our, end of our time here.

Curt Liesveld 44:36

No, I think I just am always trying to help themes that are sometimes have more negative perceptions about them be, be well-perceived, and I think Command is one of them that I have -- I like to think, sometimes when we think about when, when people start to think too negatively about a theme, I suggest the following scenario: What would happen if we would drain all the Command out of humanity? What would be the effect if no one had Command? If no one would take charge? If no one would be willing to push against something that was the resistance or the opposition? What if, think about our country. What if no one would have dared to start the American Revolution, to go against the King of England? So I just think there's tremendous value that can come from this theme. But I think there are, this is a volatile theme that I think people need to learn how to manage and to, to really maximize it.

Jim Collison 45:39

Very good. Well, Al, we want to thank you for coming on as well. And you, you jumped in at the very last minute. We had Jeannie Ruhlman lined up to join us today, and she could not, at the last minute. So Al, thank you for, for jumping in and doing this last minute.

Al Winseman 45:53

Oh, absolutely. This was a lot of fun. Thank you.

Jim Collison 45:55

Great having you. We'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources. If you're maybe listening for this for the first time, you haven't taken the StrengthsFinder or you want to get more resources around them, we have them all available for you at the Gallup Strengths Center. Just go to Send us your questions or comments, and if you'd like to be a guest blogger on called -- on our, on our Coaches site, you can do that as well. Just send us an email: You can also catch the recorded audio and video of this show and all the past ones and all the links to like our Facebook group and our YouTube channel and our Twitter account. All that stuff is listed on the Coaches Blog: We do want to remind you, we have some meetup events going on. And so if you're in the Dallas, or in the Oklahoma area, we've got some meetups going on. That -- we have a meetup page built just for you at the Coaches Blog. But I'll remind you, there are some events coming up in Indianapolis. There's some events coming up in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Austin. We are really starting to ramp up our meetup infrastructure. And if you're wondering what that is, that's just a chance for you, as we get bigger with strengths, to get smaller in groups. So there will be these meetup groups. Our goal is to launch a whole bunch of them by the end of the year in just about every city near you, where you can come together and meet other folks and talk about your, your themes and, and how you're using them and strengths. And then I want to remind you as well, we've got some going on overseas, as well, in the Singapore, our Singapore office is doing a meetup on the 27th. All those details available, again, at And if you're wondering (Jeremy Pietrocini is actually trying to get a question into the show, and I'm not going to let him do it right now) -- if you are wondering what's going on, how often do we do Theme Thursday? How often do we do Called to Coach? When is the next Great Manager? Head out to That's -- all, everything we ever do is out there. Just bookmark that site. And anything you need to know about what we are doing here at Gallup is available for you there. All right, that'll do it for another Theme Thursday. We are back next -- two weeks from now, I think, May -- let's see, are we -- yeah, May 8, we are up with Relator. And so we'll spend some time getting to know each other very, very deep; do that as well.

Curt Liesveld 48:02

Brian, Brian Brim is going to be our guest.

Jim Collison 48:05

Oh, good, good, good. Yeah. And so we're excited about that. That's coming up May 8th, 2014. Again, Theme Thursday with Relator. And that'll do it for this part of the webcast. Stay around for a few minutes. We'll hang out afterwards, but we want to thank you for coming out and catching Theme Thursday. Goodbye, everybody.

Al Winseman's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Ideation, Futuristic, Maximizer, Strategic and Command.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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