Cover of StrengthsFinder book and employee strengths cardAccording to Gallup, 33 percent of the American workforce is not engaged while at work. Looking closer, this is because too many people are in positions that don’t use their top strengths. Imagine how much more effective we could all be if every single person was engaged in what they’re doing.

A way to do that? StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. This is a new edition of the original Don Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment that details 34 innate strengths and how to apply them.

The Undercurrent team met up with our agency SME for StrengthsFinder — Marianne Coppock, managing director of client services — to learn more.

Q: Can you explain what StrengthsFinder is?

StrengthsFinder is a lot of things. At its core, for me, it’s a chance to allow everyone to be heard. The one common thread between everyone is the desire to be heard. And StrengthsFinder sets the stage for people to share about themselves, how they think, and how they work.

StrengthsFinder sets the stage for people to share about themselves, how they think, and how they work

Essentially, it’s personas for the people we work with. It helps us to know how our teammates tick and how to communicate best through effective dialogue.

Q: How did you first learn about StrengthsFinder, and how has it helped you personally?

I first heard about it from a previous employer. They implemented it as part of their culture, and I’ve brought it to every place I’ve worked since. It’s made me a more effective communicator and leader.

Q: What are your top strengths, and how do you apply them?

Achiever, relator, responsibility, intellection, and restorative.

Part of being an effective team player is not only being able to work well with others, but also being self-aware. StrengthsFinder has helped me understand myself which is imperative in good teamwork and leadership.

The StrengthsFinder book is a great resource because it gives you tangible ways to communicate with different strengths. It does a good job of saying “here’s how to work with someone who has this strength, and here’s how you can develop your own strength.”

I have found strengths to be such a valuable tool. I’ve used it with every team I ever managed; my husband took it while we were dating; I can’t wait for my kids to be old enough to take it.

Q: When and why did you decide to introduce StrengthsFinder to Two Rivers Marketing?

When I interviewed, I gave it to agency leadership. I asked if they had heard about it and if they were willing to take the assessment and share their results with me. In retrospect, this was pretty bold. But it shed light on how we would personally work together and how receptive the agency was to new ideas.

When I got hired, we began implementing it into the agency’s culture, and now it’s part of our agency onboarding process and used by individuals and teams to do their best work.

Q: How have you seen StrengthsFinder used at Two Rivers, and how has it grown since you brought it here?

I’ve seen it used by associates on a personal level, on a professional level, and with their clients. For example, I’ve seen associates find out where their strengths really lie and end up changing disciplines within the agency. I’ve seen teams share it with their clients so the two teams can work better together. I’ve seen it used very specifically in conflict to help have more positive and direct conversation. I’ve seen the agency use it to build more effective teams. It takes all kinds. If we have a team with all same strengths, that’s not going to lead to a successful outcome.

Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to bring StrengthsFinder to their workplace or personal life?

Pick up the book. Take the assessment. That’s the first step. Then find someone who is interested in it and talk about it. You can buy the book at almost any bookstore or buy a code online.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about StrengthsFinder?

My favorite example from the StrengthsFinder book goes like this:

You can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be a whole lot of who you already are.

The story of Rudy is a perfect example: He worked extremely hard to be great at what he was not naturally talented at. In his case, it worked, and we’re all excited for him (myself included, I promise). This classic underdog story is in our culture, our books, and our movies. But this makes us celebrate those who triumph over lack of natural ability even more than we recognize those who capitalize on their natural talents. Imagine if Rudy hadn’t chosen the path of most resistance but instead leaned in to his natural strengths. Combine that with his determination and passion, how much further could he have gone?

Employee engagement is critical to any organization’s success. In order to obtain true engagement you have to start with the strengths of your people. Make sure they are getting the opportunity to do what they do best everyday. That will lead you to more successful outcomes.

All in all, StrengthsFinder is a way to remember that everyone brings unique strengths to the table. It’s important to remember this because, as Einstein said, “everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its life believing it’s stupid.”

We encourage you to connect with Marianne at She’s always up for talking about StrengthsFinder and your individual strengths.

About Marianne Coppock

As managing director of client services, Marianne has extensive experience in channel marketing, event planning, and communications. In her downtime, she enjoys spending time with family and dancing. If you have channel marketing questions, email her at