Not only is Jay- Z good at playing the game, he thrives in it. Playing a very different game, Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess character in Downton Abbey, is also adept at developing a plan. These are indicators of the StrategicⓇ talent that both likely possess.

The quintessential image for StrategicⓇ, and frequently used by GallupⓇ CliftonStrengthsⓇ, is a chess board and its pieces. In my training sessions, I’ll jokingly refer to StrategicⓇ as MapQuest or Google Maps. That’s all because people skilled in this talent can develop multiple routes in their minds and make quick adaptations when circumstances change. So, whether a pawn took your rook or a traffic accident slowed down your route, people with StrategicⓇ can quickly adjust by developing a different game plan. In one chess match, someone with StrategicⓇ could go through plan A, B, C, all the way to Z and back again. More importantly, this applies to life plans, too!

Jay-Z’s StrategicⓇ talent was his first most marketable skill. Coming up with plans, or in his case, lyrics and reciting them on the fly is how he earned the marquee “only rapper to rewrite history without a pen.” Like most skilled chess players or people with StrategicⓇ, Jay-Z does not need to write down his thoughts to process them (although it certainly helps). He develops entire songs in his head, then delivers and records.

Jay-Z only became more successful by maximizing his StrategicⓇ strength. He became a self-made millionaire because of his multiple game plans. When no record label would sign him as a rapper, he changed course, became a CEO, and made his own. Whenever criticisms or dirty laundry are aired about Kanye, Spotify, his marriage to Beyonce, etc., most people would falter or back track. Not Jay! He swerves, owns his mistakes, and turns the gossip into lyric fuel for hit songs (This could be a sign of AdaptabilityⓇ in his Top 5 because “it ain’t where he’s been, or where he’s ‘bout to go.”) And, if you are still not sold on Jay’s StrategicⓇ, all I am going to say is—Three “Blueprint” albums! I mean, come on, blueprint is just another word for strategy!

The same kind of player, but of a different game is Maggie Smith’s character of Dowager Countess Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey. From plotting and scheming to “smash the entail” to her unparalleled witty repartee, Violet is always on her proverbial toes, even when sequestered to a chair with a cane. In the new Downton Abbey film (warning: slight spoiler) her StrategicⓇ is in the basement when she assumes she has all the pertinent information and misunderstands another character’s motives. Fortunately, Violet is paired with a likely InputⓇ in Lady Isobel Merten. (Remember Isobel’s vast medical knowledge for hundreds of treatments in the regular series? That type of mental database is a sign of InputⓇ.) Isobel’s InputⓇ instincts for collecting information tip her off that more data mining is required, and she pursues an investigation with gusto. Isobel’s acquired data provides Violet a fuller picture, and restores her StrategicⓇ from the basement to the balcony.

It is important to note, that a StrategicⓇ strength is limited by its quality and quantity of information. Pairing an information acquiring strength, like LearnerⓇ or InputⓇ, or strong listening strengths, like EmpathyⓇ or DeveloperⓇ, with StrategicⓇ can be the difference in balcony or basement living.

So, are you StrategicⓇ like Jay-Z and Violet Crawley? How so? And, what strengths do you pair with to acquire quality information?


Clifton StrengthsFinder® is a registered trademark of Gallup, Inc. The non-Gallup information you are receiving has not been approved and is not sanctioned or endorsed by Gallup® in any way. Opinions, views, and interpretations of Clifton StrengthsFinder® are solely the beliefs of Stronger Not Harder.