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About CliftonStrengths

What is the difference between a talent and a strength?

A strength is the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific activity. Talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. Talents, knowledge, and skills -- along with the time spent (i.e., investment) practicing, developing your skills, and building your knowledge base -- combine to create your strengths.

For example, being drawn toward strangers and enjoying the challenge of making a connection with them are talents (from the Woo theme), whereas the ability to consistently build a network of supporters who know you and are prepared to help you is a strength. To build this strength, you have refined your talents with skills and knowledge. Likewise, the tendency to confront others is a talent (from the Command theme), whereas the ability to sell successfully is a strength. To persuade others to buy your product, you must have combined your talent with product knowledge and certain selling skills.

Although talents, skills, and knowledge are each important for building a strength, talent is always the most important. The reason is that your talents are innate and cannot be acquired, unlike skills and knowledge. For example, as a salesperson you can learn your products' features (knowledge), you can be trained to ask the right open-ended questions (a skill), and you can practice making a sale (investment). However, the innate tendency to push a customer to commit at exactly the right moment, in exactly the right way must be naturally occurring and cannot be learned.

The key to building a fully developed strength is to identify your most dominant talents, which are likely found within your top five themes, then complement them with acquired knowledge, skills, and investment.