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The sailboat analogy - understanding the CliftonStrengths

Here is an analogy to help understand the CliftonStrengths, your reports and how to use them.

Image that you are a sailboat that has 5 main masts. Engineers have analyzed your boat (the StrengthsFinder assessment) and have determined the 5 best types of sails for your boat (your Top5 CliftonStrengths) out of all the 34 types of sails available to use, from their research and data they have gathered. Your best chance at success as a sailboat is by using these sails. These engineers have also given you a one-page sheet as to what these sails are when you might use them and how you might use them (your Insight Report).

When you are sailing, there are many factors that come into play. Your end-point is the first part, the current sailing conditions from wind to waves to tides, how fast you need to get there and so much more. Once you have set a course, you can choose an initial sail that you think will give you the best result, but just like in sailing, there more you know your ship, the more you know your sails, and the more you have faced different scenarios, the more you will be able to successfully navigate what is in front of you.

Like a captain of a sailboat, you must learn what your boat is capable of. You need to discover, test, experiment, get familiar and perfect the use of your sails. There more time you have on the water and the situations you face, the more you will be able to navigate what lies ahead with great success. Don’t start when you make a cross-Atlantic trip, rather, start on a small lake and work your way to the bigger challenges.

And just like the captain who is out sailing, you also have to:

  • choose the right sail for the course you have selected (choose the right theme to achieve the desired outcome)

  • make constant adjustments as the realities and the conditions change to get the best results

Now it’s time for you to set sail and start to discover when and how to use each sail, and what you need to do before, during and after each voyage.

Happy sailing!


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