The Strengths Movement, which these days is seen as an integral part of the Positive Psychology, has been pioneered by the Gallup Organization several decades ago. The research started in the 1960s by Don Clifton, who laid the foundation not only for the subsequent strengths assessment, but also for the whole movement. The method has provided a welcomed shift from traditional approaches focusing on weaknesses and deficits. Since the launch of the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment in 2001, the strengths-based leadership and lifestyle subject has been taken by the storm in both business and scientific world, leading to over 20 million people in 196 countries becoming aware of their strengths.

Key Characteristics & Methodologies

In the growing strengths movement, a large number of assessments have emerged and it is important to understand certain characteristics that distinguish these strengths test methodologies.


Strengths Identified: What does the test intend to find?

Domain of Focus: Which area of life is it applicable to?

Basis of Validity: How has it been derived?

Treatment of Weaknesses: Which strengths matter and which are weaknesses?


During the last decade, two main strengths assessment instruments have dominated the field – Clifton StrengthsFinder and the VIA (Values in Action) Survey. Both of them focus on determining positive qualities of the individual, however, their approaches demonstrate different stands and insights on human strengths.




Values-in-Action (VIA) Survey


Values-in-Action Survey has been developed by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman in 2004 and since then has been taken by close to 6 million people. It has been the result of 3 years long research in collaboration with 55 notable scientists and scholars in an attempt to understand what is best about human beings. Consisting of 240 untimed questions, the survey focuses on assessing 24 individual’s character strengths as foundational to the human experience and virtues. The creators of the survey insist that all 24 strengths matter equally as they scientifically linked with life satisfaction. Since character strengths are universal, the application of the assessment is limitless. Promoted by a non-profit organization, it is one of the most well-researched personality assessments holding validity over time, cultures and scientific peer reviews.




Clifton StrengthsFinder


Clifton StrengthsFinder was developed and launched under the leadership of Donald O. Clifton in 2001, yielding its creator the unofficial title of ‘the father of strengths psychology’. The assessment is based on 1.7 million business leader interviews conducted over the course of 40 years. The main goal of StrengthsFinder is to help individuals to uncover their talents, not strengths. Consisting of 177 statement pairs, the test focuses on determining 5 top talents out of a list of 34, as these signature themes are the ones to be potentially developed into strengths. The scope and applicability of the test are widely considered to be focused on workplace environment, particularly in the Western world. Despite not being peer-reviewed by the independent scientific community and being promoted by a for-profit organization, the assessment has been enjoying a blockbuster popularity among millions of people from all across the world.


HIGH5 test is based on the latest research in the field of positive psychology on the importance of strengths-based vs deficit-focused perspectives on life. The test draws its inspiration from pioneers in the area of strengths-based leadership – such organizations as Martin Seligman and VIA Character Strengths, Gallup Research Center and StrengthsFinder, Marcus Buckingham and StandOut, Richard Stephenson and RSWAT, StrengthScope and many others. It is developed in its entirety by the internal team of strengths experts leveraging the best of existing methodologies and findings from individual assessments of 12 000 people of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds.


The test consists of 100 questions assessing the individual across 4 domains and 20 strengths. The HIGH5 methodology assumes that all strengths are equally important, yet they are present differently across individuals. The results of the test consist of key 5 strengths to focus the attention of the individual on those strengths that are developed to a greater extent.


There are two factors that distinguish HIGH5 TEST:




1 Focus on actionable strengths stemming from universal character traits


Considering dominant, yet very different, perspectives on defining and assessing strengths, HIGH5 is designed to bridge the gap between the two well known methodologies by focusing on actionable strengths based on universal character traits. In other words, test results answer the question of what your character traits enable you to do well in practice. As such, results are more universally applicable than assessments focusing on talents and work environments, yet more practical than assessments focusing on character traits.


The test uses character traits as basis, with the strengths derived from the latter. Such strengths do not demonstrate themselves only in moments of excellence or near-perfect performance, but rather in everyday moments and interactions. Leveraging them is proven to be one of the basis for higher life satisfaction..


While character traits remain persistent over time, their demonstration in actionable strengths can differ as the individual goes through various experiences during their lifetime. For example, your character of fairness could be the basis of a) establishing strict processes, rules and structures to treat people fairly; or b) feeling and sensing how other people feel in order to build bridges in conflict. Therefore, HIGH5 results are a current snapshot of your actionable strengths stemming from your universal character traits, not a fixed prescriptive profile that is not likely to change.




2 Peer review of your strengths


Peer Review in HIGH 5 Test consists of 20 questions where your invited friends / colleagues / classmates are asked to rank how much a specific strength is associated with you.


By incorporating external reviews, this assessment provides an additional powerful feedback, often times lacking in other tests, on how effectively you are using your strengths and how they are perceived by people you communicate with on daily basis. Whether you are going through a career change or whether you are trying to decide on what to do after university, this perspective can provide a mirror through which one can discover discrepancies between self-reflections and other people’s perception. Being aware of the gap can open your mind on factors that can lead to a happier and more satisfying career.


As result of the peer review test, you receive a list of 5 strengths that ranked the highest based on your peer anonymous evaluations together with full strengths descriptions and real-life applications. To secure the true confidentiality of scores, friends’ reviews will only be displayed after at least 5 friends have evaluated your strengths. It’s worth noting as well that the more evaluations you receive, the more precise are the scores.

Disclaimer. Trademarked names of tests and organizations are mentioned on this page for information purpose only to educate the general public about the strengths movement as a whole. All rights to those trademarks are reserved by respective organizations. HIGH5 has no relationship with Gallup Organization and Clifton StrengthsFinder or VIA Institute on Character and VIA Survey. HIGH5 strengths do not substitute StrengthsFinder talent themes or VIA character traits. HIGH5 questions have been developed internally by HIGH5 team and do not mimic original Clifton StrengthsFinder or VIA Survey questions or assessment process. Any coincidence between different test results should be attributed to the fact that they assess the personality of the same individual; hence, results can correlate depending on the methodology.