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CliftonStrengths Combinations: Most Rare and Common

CliftonStrengths Combinations: Most Rare and Common

by Bailey Nelson

Story Highlights

  • Strengths-based development helps you succeed at work and in life
  • Discover more about yourself through examples of common and not-so-common strengths pairs
  • The path to development starts with understanding what you do best

Focusing on your strengths is one of the best ways to develop your abilities and achieve your goals. 

Gallup has found that people who develop their CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) are 6x as likely to be engaged in their jobs and 3x as likely to report having an excellent quality of life. That is, strengths-based development unlocks true success at work and in life.

One of the reasons CliftonStrengths leads to excellence is because the CliftonStrengths assessment reveals your “talent DNA” -- the unique combination of themes that set you apart. In fact, the possible combinations of talents are so unique that the chance two people share the same top five CliftonStrengths themes in the same order is one in 33 million. 


At the same time, some strengths are more common than others, and in many cases, certain strengths tend to go hand-in-hand with one another. Other strength pairings are rare: If you happen to possess these strength pairings in your top strengths, yours are some of the most uncommon. 

Strengths-based development unlocks true success at work and in life.

In other words, your top strengths are a combination that’s unique to you. But you may also find that you possess common (or rare) pairings and combinations of strength themes. Identifying and understanding these patterns can help you develop, learn and grow for the future. 

5 Common CliftonStrengths Pairings

Gallup CliftonStrengths experts have identified patterns in common theme pairings. People who possess high levels of these particular strengths often have high levels of similar themes. For instance, people with high Input often also have Learner as a top CliftonStrengths theme. 

Many of these theme pairings are intuitive: People who lead with Woo, for example, are often skilled conversationalists who “win” people over with their Communication talent. 

Here are five common pairings CliftonStrengths experts have observed:



5 Rare CliftonStrengths Pairings

Other CliftonStrengths themes are less likely to occur together. These uncommon strengths pairings are also intuitive. For example, those with high Strategic tend to be great at making decisions. In contrast, people with high Focus naturally stick with decisions once made -- so it’s uncommon for these individuals to also have high levels of Strategic. 

Here are five rare CliftonStrengths pairings that Gallup experts have identified:


Don’t know your strengths? Watch this video to learn more.



How We Categorize the 34 Themes

The 34 CliftonStrengths themes can be categorized into the four domains of CliftonStrengths: Executing, Influencing, Strategic Thinking and Relationship Building. 

In addition to these four domains, you may have noticed that several of your top CliftonStrengths themes are similar. For instance, people who are naturally team-oriented may have high Connectedness, Includer and Arranger. 

While Gallup has not formally researched these patterns, reflecting on the similarities and differences in your strengths can help you better understand how you work best, what you’re great at and where you tend to struggle. 

The goal is to experience “aha!” moments about how you approach life, relationships and work. 

CliftonStrengths “Packages”: Grouping Themes by Their Shared Talents

Each CliftonStrengths theme is unique. Yet multiple themes can share certain characteristics. Here are a few talent groupings (i.e., packages) that show how certain themes work together. 

Anticipation and Imagination: You might possess high levels of these themes if you naturally imagine possibilities, foresee challenges and anticipate what lies ahead.  

  • Deliberative
  • Futuristic
  • Ideation
  • Strategic

Detail-Oriented: For people who naturally value precision and attention to detail, the following themes often go together. 

  • Analytical
  • Discipline
  • Individualization

Perspective: Some themes are all about perspective -- global perspective, forward-mindedness, introspection and focusing on individuals. 

  • Connectedness
  • Context
  • Futuristic
  • Individualization
  • Intellection

Social: If you’re a social butterfly by nature, you likely possess high levels of multiple “social” themes that make you more accepting, dependable and relatable.

  • Communication
  • Includer
  • Individualization
  • Relator
  • Responsibility
  • Woo

Speed: Several CliftonStrengths are related because of their emphasis on efficiency. These themes go together for fast-paced people who naturally work quickly. 

  • Achiever
  • Activator
  • Adaptability
  • Learner
  • Woo

Use Your Strengths; Then Grow Them Into Something Great

We all have unique combinations of talents -- and whether you have rare strengths pairings or tend to identify more with common strengths combinations, the path to personal growth and development is the same for everyone: Understand, celebrate and cultivate what you do best.  

Ask yourself: How are your top strengths similar and different? How can you harness those similarities and differences to achieve your goals? 

Remember, your combination of talent themes is unique to you. And no matter what strengths you have, you can improve your effectiveness by exploring how your strengths work together and leaning into what you do best.

Here are four steps you can take now to spark strengths-based growth:

1. Learn what makes you unique.

The first step to personal and professional development is self-awareness. What are the themes that make you uniquely you? You can go deeper with development by discovering your full 34 CliftonStrengths profile, which reveals your unique order of all 34 themes. Gaining this broad perspective is the best way to understand patterns in your strengths and how to make the most of them.  

2. Create strengths-based goals.

Once you know your strengths, consider your daily tasks, conversations and routines. What can you do to develop your strengths in those meaningful moments? 

Choose a few areas you’d like to improve -- from your habits to your work-from-home routine. Then, decide which strengths you can use to accomplish each of those things. Consider how patterns in your strengths can help you fulfill your goals more effectively. 

For example, you might have a goal to gain a new skill. If you possess several “social” strengths, you might pursue mentorship or recruit several colleagues to take a class together. By understanding the patterns in your strengths, you can find new ways to accomplish the seemingly impossible. 

3.    Reframe your weaknesses.

The best way to achieve greatness isn’t to ignore your weaknesses. Rather, you should acknowledge your weaknesses, understand them and then reframe them by considering which of your top strengths you can use to compensate. Ask yourself: Which of my top strengths can help me succeed despite my weaknesses? 

Another great strategy is complementary partnerships: By relying on others, you can manage your weaknesses effectively. For example, if strengths in the “perspective” package are at the bottom of your full 34 profile, you might connect with a forward-thinking individual who possesses high levels of these strengths. Through that partnership, you can discover new ways of thinking.   

4.    Use these strengths-focused resources. 

You can become truly unstoppable by pursuing a lifetime of development with proven strengths-based development resources. From the CliftonStrengths podcast to formal CliftonStrengths courses, Gallup has created development tools, insights and opportunities that are specifically designed to help people grow in new ways.  

The bottom line is that strengths-based development is all about what you’re paying attention to. When your mind is on your strengths, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. 

Here are some ways to develop your strengths, no matter what they are:

CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup. Copyright © 2000 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

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