Get Help Discovering Your Unique Talents to Thrive

Find your signature skills with a new CliftonStrengths course offered by Duke Learning and Organization Development

An illustration of people using magnifying glasses.
Karylle Abella of Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Abella was part of the first group in June to take the new CliftonStrengths course, which helps participants discover their unique talents. The course will be offered twice this fall. There will be a virtual class on October 26 with a limited number of spots remaining. There will also an in-person class session on November 13 at the Learning & Organization Development building at 402 Oregon St.

“The CliftonStrengths course is a wonderful self-assessment which allows participants to see why they can do some parts of their job really well and why some parts of their job are not in their wheelhouse,” said Associate Director for Duke Learning & Organization Development Joy Birmingham, who leads the course. “Once you know this about yourself, you can focus on building your talents into strengths and using them to help yourself work around your weaknesses.”

Abella, who has worked at Duke since 2020, said she took the course as a way to accelerate her personal and professional development by showing her what tools she naturally brings to her work and what other areas could be improved.

“I think it really helps provide insight to you as a worker,” Abella said. “In an organization, each person is different. And when you’re building a team, it helps to work off of people’s strengths and weaknesses.”

The CliftonStrengths course is based on data from a 177-question assessment each participant takes in advance of a three-hour class to identify what the individual does best. The assessment yields detailed rankings of 34 themes, each representing ways a person thinks, learns or acts. By looking at each theme, a participant can see what they can achieve naturally and what help they may need from others to accomplish things.

Once participants get the results of their assessment, the class will help them interpret the results and, with the help of small group sessions, work on strategies for maximizing their strengths.

Lamont Cannon of Faculty Affairs.

After finding value in other self-assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Lamont Cannon, Senior Outreach Coordinator for Faculty Affairs, took the CliftonStrengths course in June and said that it provided a much deeper look into the skills that can help him thrive. Cannon found that he has an exceptional amount of curiosity and desire to learn and excels in noticing strengths in people around him.

“I think it opens people’s eyes to areas where they’re already strong as well as areas where they could be stronger,” Cannon said of the course. “It gives you guidance on how you can better implement these things going forward in your day-to-day work as well as showing you any potential blind spots.”

Fuqua School of Business Multimedia Production Specialist Taylor Shain also took the course in June. His survey results showed that he is strong at coming up with ideas and thinking about how to move them forward, which he said gives him more confidence in offering up ideas and suggestions during team brainstorming sessions.

“It’s a little like art combined with science,” Shain said. “You answer the questions about yourself which is a little bit scientific. But the art is in how you use the information. How will this inspire you? How will you use it?”

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