Please Don’t Waste Your Money on the Next Big Trend


We’ve all been here: your boss attends a conference, hears about the latest greatest personality test where you can categorize yourself and everyone else you work with as an animal/color/shape/imaginary creature, etc., comes back to the office all fired up, has everyone take said assessment and then files the results away only to be lost on a pile on his/her desk and never to be mentioned again.

I call this phenomenon “church camp high,” am I right? For a few days (away from the office and the normal demands of one’s job), something shiny catches our attention and seems like it might be the silver bullet to solve all of our workplace woes. In reality, however, this manic cycle of fads and failures is doing nothing for your organization but wasting money, time and energy. So please, stop wasting your money on the next big personality test.

More than 18.2 million people worldwide have taken the CliftonStrengths assessment. For many, however, their strengths journey ends with a glorified horoscope that gets lost on their desk and never talked about again. To me, this is like buying a really nice car and then never taking it out of the garage. Now, to be clear, CliftonStrengths isn’t a personality assessment at all. It’s a performance-based tool, and Lisa Cummings of Lead Through Strengths articulates the difference beautifully in one of her latest podcast episodes. CliftonStrengths successfully identifies areas of potential, but if you do nothing with it, it’s just that – wasted potential.

The whole point of introducing/using CliftonStrengths is to identify areas of potential and then leverage them to get better results (i.e. more engaged employees, happier people, stronger key performance indicators, etc.). But honestly, if you think a 3-hour workshop is going to change your culture, you’re going to be disappointed. Building culture is not something you can do anecdotally. The next big personality test isn’t going to do anything for you than distract your people from the most important work they’re doing. So please, stop wasting your money on whatever shiny thing you see next and instead make solid, ongoing investment in truly developing your people as the leaders they have the potential to be!