A strengths-based culture

How to bring your superpowers to work

I was first introduced to the idea of a strengths-based culture when I joined the Civilla team. It was a breakthrough for me.

The concept, developed by Gallup, states that when you invest in your natural talents your potential to grow is much greater than when you focus on your weaknesses.

As our leadership coach Michael Dauphinee puts it, strengths are the things you do that make use of your instincts — your natural ways of thinking and behaving. Your strengths determine how you communicate, set priorities, and recharge your batteries.

While we all have unique capabilities, many people don't have the words to describe their strengths or the opportunity to use them to their advantage. In work places, people tend to focus on fixing their weaknesses–rather than identifying and building on the areas where they have a lot of potential to grow and succeed.

Here at Civilla, we strive to create an environment where every teammate can lean in to their natural strengths at work. When we do, we find that we're more energized, more productive, and better at collaborating.

Each of us (yes, you too!) has a set of unique talents. By identifying, understanding, and applying those talents you can supercharge your work and your team. Here’s how:

1. identify your strengths

To use your strengths, you first have to identify them. To help with this, Gallup designed an assessment called the CliftonStrengths. After completing it you receive a report with 5 personalized themes. These themes help you describe what you do best. They also help you identify where you might need support from others. We recommend starting with this assessment. Find a quiet space where you can focus for 30 minutes.

2. understand your results

When you complete the assessment you’ll receive two reports. Start by reading your customized strengths insight guide. What surprises you? What feels spot on? Is there any new language that helps you describe yourself? Highlight the sentences that resonate with you the most.

3. connect with your team

A big part of the strengths-based approach is recognizing that you don't have to be good at everything.

Encourage your teammates to take the assessment. Then, spend time understanding how your strengths relate. This will help you find ways to better ways to work together and support each other.

For example, Adam’s strength in Activation helps him jump-start new projects. If we need input on how to get ideas off paper, Adam’s a great person to ask for help.

Lena’s strength as an ‘Arranger’ helps her organize information in magical ways. If someone on the team needs help making sense of a lot of research, we look to Lena to jump in to help us organize the information.

4. put your strengths into practice

Talents are like muscles - we all have them, but the benefits come from applying them. The next (and most important!) step is to find opportunities to use your strengths.

At Civilla, we use strengths to guide many important decisions as an organization. They help us structure our project teams, identify gaps, navigate conflict, and identify opportunities for growth.

Think back to a moment when you felt like you were on your strengths. What conditions made that possible? How might you find ways to create those conditions in the future?


We can’t be on our strengths all the time, but we can reflect on what gives us energy and find ways to integrate more of those activities into our days.

– Rachael + the Civilla team