top of page

What do CliftonStrengths Leadership Domains, chewing gum and family stories have in common?

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Clifton Strengths has 4 main leadership domains.

Strategic These are the people that know what has happened, what is happening and what is the best way forward.


These are the people that take charge, use their voice, and ensure everyone is heard by conveying the why.

Relationship Building

These are the people who are the connectors, building strong relationships and knowing who to involve in the process.

And, Executing.

These are the GSD (Get Sh*t done) people. They make things happen and see it through to completion.

When people do their CliftonStrengths assessment – I often get the following statements:

'Oh my gosh, I have no blue (Relationship Building) in my top 5. Does this mean I can’t make friends or people don’t like me?'

Or, in a team setting:

'Oh no, we have no influencers in our team – how are we ever going to convince people to come on the journey with us?'

There are no missing pieces in CliftonStrengths, every single Top 5 sequence is amazing!

(and that’s not just my individualization talking), every single possible combination is incredible, malleable and flexible.

Think of your strengths like chewing gum.

When its cold (or new) it’s a little stiff. It is hard to shape, it's not very palatable to others and it can break if we go too hard too fast. This is your CliftonStrengths when you first learn about them. We can only see them as defined, abstract, separate entities. We might not be using them to our best abilities (which is where it might frustrate others) and we can lose confidence if we think about what we don’t have.

When the chewing gum warm, you’ve been working on it for a while, it is much more bendy and impressionable. We can flex it into places that we might need them, and use Themes in different domains.

Bending your strengths

I will give you an example.

Input is my number 3 strength. It means I love collecting things, specifically ideas, concepts, facts and experiences. It is based around curiosity, I love learning, questioning and finding answers. Input is a Strategic Leadership domain.

However, this year I have been making it a Relationship Building tool, by conducting a little research project called Family Stories.

Family Stories

Every Monday morning, I send an email to my Dad, Nan, Pop and my husbands Mum and Dad, asking them a question.


- What could you tell me that I would be surprised to learn about you?

- What is your most memorable story of you and your siblings?

- What was your first job and how did you get it?

- What is your favourite thing about being a parent?

It was inspired and spurred on by my mum's relatively sudden death last year. The feeling of not having enough time to hear all her stories, her ideas, and my desire to have one last conversation, about anything and everything.

I have turned my Input's curiosity toward people into learning as much as I can about them.

However, the heart behind Input is giving the information away and sharing what I have learnt.

At the moment they are being collected in an excel spreadsheet for the end of the year, when my intention is to I am going to make them into physical books – so we as a family can have a living history and conversation starter.

Just because my Input is Green on paper, doesn’t mean I can’t make it Blue.

The more we learn about our strengths, trust our process and apply our learning, we can totally be a full spectrum of domains, even if Gallup says otherwise!

Are you using a Theme or Strength in a different place than it says on the tin?

Who is Blue Mercury and what do we do? Individual development, leadership, team growth and organisational culture.

We facilitate conversations. Conversations to understand how people can be more effective, productive and motivated in business.

Do you want to love that Monday morning alarm? Or build an environment, that your team to love their workplace? Blue Mercury can help!


bottom of page