Jay Wright Shares His Clifton Strengths For Live Event


Courtesy of Sarah Park

Student Sarah Park posed with Wright after attending his talk at the Mullen Center.

Sarah Wisniewski, Co-News Editor

Prior to the glorious and anxious days of Freshmen Orientation, all incoming University students are required to take the Clifton Strengths assessment. In addition to all past students of the University, Jay Wright, former head coach of the men’s basketball team, now has the honor of saying he too has completed the assessment.

The test lasts for 30 minutes and includes paired statements test takers must evaluate which they agree most with. For example, the two statements, “Starting conversation is an effort for me,” and “I get a rush from striking up conversation,” may be on opposite sides of the spectrum. The participant then chooses which side describes them more, with a neutral option in the middle.

The assessment concludes by providing each participant their top five strengths. There are 34 strengths in total, all of which get ordered, but the top five are most important for this assessment. The test not only provides the names of one’s strengths but explains in detail what each means and how it can help one improve in various situations.

On Oct. 26, Wright sat down with community members and students to speak about his results and their effect on him. The event was held in the Topper Theater of the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. The discussion was moderated by the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Interim Chair of the Political Science Department, Crystal Lucky, Ph.D., and senior Julia Danos.

After a warm welcome, Wright joked about speaking at the event.

“I enjoy talking in front of people and talking about our team. The only thing I don’t like talking about is me,” Wright said. “So, I hope I’m good at this. Talking about myself.”
Wright’s top five strengths in order include restorative, arranger, deliberative, self-assurance and adaptability. The Clifton Strengths describe a restorative individual as someone who excels in dealing with problems and identifying solutions. An arranger likes to figure out how all the pieces and resources of a situation can be put together for maximum productivity. Deliberative individuals anticipate obstacles while also taking serious care in their decision making efforts. Self-assurance and adaptability are exactly as they sound.

In the beginning of the event, Wright spoke about the actual experience of taking the assessment. He said that after reading each question, he wanted to take his time and deliberate on each but knew that was not the goal of the assessment.

“You know you got to do it within a quick period and do it with your gut,” Wright said. “I wanted to keep going because it was forcing me to say, ‘You know what? What’s your gut in this? What’s your gut?’ And you start to see a little bit of consistency in your gut.”

Lucky then shared that she was frustrated at times because the program will automatically move test takers onto new statements if they are taking too long to choose an option. Wright responded that he was able to get through all the statements and even enjoyed the experience of the assessment.

“Usually when taking tests, you can’t wait until it’s over, but this one I was like ‘I want to keep going with this,’” Wright said. “It’s making me think.”

The discussion then went on to the experience Wright had when evaluating his results with Associate Vice Provost for Career and Professional Development, Kevin Grubb. The former head coach said that he wanted to continue going over all the ins and outs of his results but had another obligation to attend. He praised the assistance of Grubb in going through his top five strengths and seeing where the results were as expected and where they were more of a surprise.

One of the main surprises from the audience members, the moderators and even Wright himself was that competition was not among the top five strengths in his results. Wright joked that his wife Patty, who was in attendance, was far more competitive than him. He referenced their times playing golf together and how she was keener on a win than he was.

Wright then went on to speak about how important knowing your top strengths can be, referencing his new career as a broadcaster for college basketball.

“It’s funny because I’m starting this new career,” Wright said. “I don’t know how [the deliberative strength] is going to fit in. You know, to watch a game and think what we have to fix and make better. I don’t know if people listening to the game really want to hear that.”

Wright also mentioned that he will work to utilize his strengths in his position as special assistant to the University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D.

The discussion then concluded with a short Q&A session with audience members. One of the questions asked Wright if he believed he had the same strengths as a kid as he does now. The former coach told a story of playing on his high school basketball team in regard to his restorative strength.

“My high school coach jokes to this day that we would be in a huddle, and we’d come out of the huddle, and I would tell the team, ‘That’s not what we’re doing,’” Wright joked.
At the conclusion of the event, Wright thanked the moderators and audience for their time. Grubb then gave Wright the gift of his Clifton Strengths t-shirt with his top five marked on the back to wear proudly for others to see.