Leading with the Ideation StrengthsFinder Talent

From inspiration to innovation


Ideas drive innovation, and leaders with the ideation Strengthsfinder talent are always asking, “what if?”

If you have ideation as a strength, you live outside the box, searching for new perspectives and wondering what is possible.

You’re likely the person others come to when they’re stuck and need a new perspective or insight. 

Your Strengths Have AntiPatterns

Ideation StrengthsFinder TL;DR

The ideation StrengthsFinder talent means you love coming up with new ideas. As a leader, you can see connections in unexpected places. You continue to turn the problem around in your mind looking at it from new perspectives and searching for insights.

Facilitation is an ideation superpower.

You don’t just seek ideas for ideas' sake; your drive for discovery helps create a better tomorrow.  

You’re at your best when you’re facilitating your team to bring their fresh perspectives to inspire new ideas. Together you can see a concert of connections interacting together. 

If you’re already familiar with StrengthsFinder, you can skip over the next section.

What is StrengthsFinder?

SterengthsFinder, now CliftonStrengths, is an assessment based on strengths psychology. The fundamental premise is you will get farther by maxing out your strengths rather than trying to improve your weaknesses. 

I’ve seen numerous leaders grow as they identified their talents and turned them into well-developed strengths. But you don’t have to be a leader to benefit from StrengthsFinder, and you can apply it to more than just work. 

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses helps you better understand and live out your unique design.

Ideation is just one of the 34 different strengths measured by StengthsFinder. When you take the assessment, you will get back your top 5 strengths. You can pay for an ordered list of all 34, but I wouldn’t recommend that the first time you take the assessment.

Focus is critical to developing your strengths. Keeping just your top 5 in view helps you make meaningful growth in the areas of your life with the highest leverage and impact. 

How do you lead well with ideation in your StrengthsFinder top 5?

So you’ve taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, received your results and found ideation in the list. Now you’re wondering how to grow or leverage this strength in your leadership. 

I love ideation. When I'm leading a designs sprint, I often think, "I get paid to do this!!"

I've conducted hundreds of ideation sessions and learned how to grow this talent into a strength.

These are four strategies I’ve seen leaders with ideation use to capture inspiration and turn it into innovation.

  1. Make time to play and create.
  2. Feed your mind.
  3. Learn to facilitate.
  4. Gather an ideation team.

Learn to recognize behaviors when you're over-leveraging your strengths to the point that they become liabilities. And discover the path back to health.

Make time to play and create.

Ideation is an act of creation. While some structures and skills can help facilitate it, I see ideation more as an art and an output of a playful mindset.

The corporate drive to produce and deliver can sometimes crowd out the free-play space needed to play and be curious. I find the habit of regular inefficient play time an effective tool to combat this. 

Ideas are grown from seeds of inspiration.

Make space in your schedule to learn, create and imagine without a real goal in mind. This free time will be refreshing and continue to strengthen your ideation abilities.

Even though the time isn’t focused on solving a specific problem at the outset, it often inspires solutions for adjacent problems you didn’t initially intend to solve. 

Feed your mind.

Ideas are grown from seeds of inspiration. You sow these seeds by feeding your mind with the raw material to cultivate novel ideas.

You may do this naturally if you also have the strengths of learner or input in your top 5. But even if you don’t, you can use these habits to continue to supply your mind with what it needs to produce ideas.

  • Read books. Books collect and arrange information ready for your to re-order and apply. 
  • Listen to podcasts. There is a podcast for almost every topic, and they have an excellent density of information packed into short episodes
  • Google the whys. You likely are often wondering why things are the way they are. Take a few minutes and go down the rabbit hole to see what you find.
  • Curate collections. When you find something interesting, save it. It might serve as inspiration for a solution in the future.

Learn to facilitate.

Facilitation is an ideation superpower. When done well, it combines the introspective powers of individual reflection with the collective forces of discussion and collaboration. 

If you’re a leader with the StrengthsFinder ideation talent, invest in building your toolbox for idea generation.

You live outside the box, searching for new perspectives and wondering what is possible.

Both IdeoU and Ideo.org have resources and stories that will help you grow as a facilitator. Some good books to start with include: 

Gather an ideation team.

As a leader with the ideation strength, you will thrive when leading others to connect perspectives and insights to discover something new and create a better tomorrow. 

Ideally, you can find a job where you’re paid for idea generation. Most days when I’m facilitating, I think to myself, “I get paid to do this!!”

But if that isn’t your current work reality, you can still gather people around you who share an affinity for curiosity and collaboration. You can share insights and bounce ideas off one another. 

You’re likely the person others come to when they’re stuck and need a new perspective or insight.

Be sure to include both those who generate ideas and those who can make them a reality. Who knows, maybe a startup or two will be born out of these informal ideation conversations.

You can take inspiration and transform it into innovation as you learn to lead using your ideation strength. 

No more getting stuck doing things the way they’ve always been done. You can help your team and organization surface fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.

Action Plan

Leaders with the StrengthsFinder ideation talent can struggle with an antipattern of idealism when their ideas become disconnected from reality. Learning the strengths antipatterns will allow you to continue growing as a healthy, intentional leader. 

You are on an extraordinary journey to living and leading from your strengths. You can explore the list below to learn about the rest of your top 5 strengths.

Frequently Asked Questions


So do I totally ignore my weaknesses and just focus on my strengths?

Strengths-based growth doesn’t encourage you to ignore your weaknesses but not to spend too much time trying to turn them into strengths. Instead, you may need to find team members or systems to fill in your gaps.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

There are strengths I think I have; why didn’t they didn’t show up in my top 5?

For some people, their strengths ranked 5, 6 or 7 are almost even. You could also be misattributing a skill or behavior to a specific strength.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

Should I pay to see all 34 strengths?

Seeing your other 29 strengths can help give you a fuller picture. But initially, someone should focus on further developing those top 5 strengths rather than trying to give attention across the list. Once you have a good grasp on what it looks like to lead from your top 5, it can be helpful to explore the rest of the list.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

What’s the difference between a talent and a strength?

A talent is your natural way of thinking or behaving. A strength is a talent developed over time through knowledge, skills and practice.

Learn more about how StrengthsFinder influences your leadership.

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