By Nick Landgren
The Clifton Strengths Finder is used by schools and companies across the country to help people discover what they naturally do best, learn how to develop their greatest talents and use their customized results to live their best lives. This service is now offered by Lynn and is an optional assessment for faculty and mandatory assessment for incoming freshmen as part of their Lynn 101 class.
Different from most tests of this nature, it does not identify one’s weaknesses, but highlights strengths and suggests opportunities to improve them. The assessment is completely unique to each person who takes it and the odds that one person who takes it will receive the same signature themes as another, are one in 33 million.
This method of identifying strengths was developed by psychologist Donald Clifton 40 years ago in order to help people become the best versions of themselves. Lynn’s own Anthony Altieri, vice president of Student Affairs, shared his experience with how he thinks the results of this assessment could help people in not just their professional or academic lives, but in their personal lives as well.
“The test could be applied to everything; when you receive your top five [strengths], they explain who you are, not just how you will perform in a given environment,” said Altieri. “Unlike the Meyers Briggs test, this test will never indicate someone’s potential performance in a job, it will only explain how they will get that job done.”
The results of the test consist of abstract personality traits with comprehensive explanations that are unique to the answers given. Each indicator plays off the others, and even though some may seem contradictory, they work with one another to paint a complex and highly personalized picture of an individual’s strong personality traits.
“There is a lot that can be done with this test and so far, we are literally only scratching the surface with it,” continued Altieri. “It’s truly a great tool for students to begin to understand who they are, or at least help put a language to who they are.”
The Lynn 101 class for incoming students not only provides the opportunity for new students to take the test themselves, but offers guidance on how to pursue and utilize the strengths the test has identified for them.
The course is directed by faculty members who understand the test and can give information to students based on their results. For students who are interested in a more in-depth look into how they can grow based on their indicators, Lynn offers specialty guidance from three different departments.
“Any student who wants one-on-one coaching [on how to use test results] can get it through Student Affairs, the Career Connections office or the Institute of Achievement and Learning where we have people who are strengths certified to help these students,” said Altieri.
Overall, the introduction of the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment into Lynn’s basic curriculum is a highly innovative approach to learning and understanding oneself. It proposes exciting new developments in the way that students and faculty are understood by their peers.