'Activator' in a nutshell...
“When can we start?” This is a recurring question in your life. You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield a few valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real. Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision has been made, you cannot not act. Others may worry that “there are still things we don’t know,” but this doesn’t seem to slow you down. If the decision has been made to go across town, you know that the fastest way to get there is to go from stoplight to stoplight. You are not going to sit around waiting until all the lights have turned green. Besides, in your view, action and thinking are not opposites. In fact, guided by your Activator StrengthsFinder theme, you believe that action is the best device for learning. You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. This learning informs your next action and your next. How can you grow if you have nothing to react to? Well, you believe you can’t. You must put yourself out there. You must take the next step. It is the only way to keep your thinking fresh and informed. The bottom line is this: You know you will be judged not by what you say, not by what you think, but by what you get done. This does not frighten you. It pleases you.
What's the power of the Activator talent theme?
The genius of your Activator StrengthsFinder theme begins with the concept of action. You want action and you can make things happen. Most of all, the genius of your Activator talent gives you the ability to see how to make things happen. Whereas others have ideas that only swim around in their minds, you can quickly see how to turn ideas into actions, programs, and services. This points to the greatest aspect of the genius of your Activator talent. You are creative and very innovative. Finally, you have a tremendous amount of motivation, energy and personal power when it comes to taking an idea and then putting it into action. You are particularly motivated to be innovative in turning your ideas into action, programs, and services. You are a dynamo in turning ideas into actions that generate revolutionary changes.
How do I grow the Activator talent theme?
1. Consider new goals or improvements your team should achieve, then develop a strategy to get things started.
Your Activator personality brings a sense of momentum and energy to those around you. Where others might be daunted by the task that looms ahead and get stuck considering all the different factors, you are unfazed. It is not that you're dismissing the possibility of those obstacles; rather, instead of getting stuck at the mere thought of the obstacles, you'd prefer to move into action first and then figure out a plan on the way. Being an Activator means you can be a powerful catalyst for your team to kickstart new improvements and achieve new goals.
2. Put yourself in situations where you can make things happen.
Because your Activator talent theme thrives on high-energy situations and on pioneering new projects, you can help influence others around you to always be primed for action. For instance, in meetings, you can make it your role to always ask for action items before the group dismisses. Your drive to make things happen can be the push that many groups need to move from discussion to action. Similarly, your Activator talent theme can also be a powerful kickstarter in turnaround or startup situations. You'll enjoy taking a stalled project and giving it the jumpstart it needs to get moving again.
3. Harness the power of movement for new ideas and greater productivity.
As a Learner who works with multiple Activators on a regular basis, a common characteristic I've noticed is that people with this talent theme tend to think best when they're on the move. For example, my colleague, Victor, has often remarked that he thinks best when he is driving. A friend of mine, Kenny Tan, also often gleans new inspiration for his various projects when he's out for a run. Because the power of the Activator StrengthsFinder theme is to bring momentum to teams or situations, this movement also helps to make them more productive in their work. In contrast, sitting in meeting rooms and long drawn-out discussions all day actually saps the energy of an Activator. If you're an Activator, one suggestion for growth is to find an outlet for movement that would help to get your creative juices flowing, then tap on that surge of motivation for greater performance.
How could this theme be overplayed?
Since the power of the Activator talent theme is in the momentum they bring to teams, projects, and situations, sometimes the overextension of this need for speed can be detrimental to both themselves and the people around them. Thus, one of the primary ways to mature this StrengthsFinder theme is for the Activator to be aware of this tendency and learn to put a system of checks and balances in place to avoid overextending this theme.
Three Practical Ways to Manage This Theme:
- Communicate the reasoning behind your drive to action. As an Activator, it is likely that you believe that while there is a need to think through ideas, opportunities can be quickly lost in a fast-paced world. In marketing strategy, we call this the "first-mover advantage," in which the first entrant to a market segment can gain a competitive advantage through control of resources and greater brand recognition. (Amazon, eBay, and Apple are all prime examples of this principle.) Request to establish a 2- to 3-day processing time for the team when new ideas surface so that a decision can be quickly made and action plans established.
- Give yourself a day or two before making major decisions. During this time period, speak to a few trusted friends to bounce your ideas off of them and gain further clarity. In particular, consider partnering someone with Responsibility (who tend to want to do things right and maintain a high degree of integrity and quality both in their work and their team), or perhaps someone with Deliberative (who are cautious by nature and take great care in considering possible pitfalls and roadblocks when making decisions).
- Customize your decision-making and communication processes. For example, in any conversation, be aware that you are prone to be too quick with your speech. When tempted to respond immediately, quickly scribble down your thoughts instead of verbalizing them. This could potentially save you some heartache, especially if you realize that some of what you were about to blurt out might not necessarily have been well thought-through. Also, share with your friends and teammates that as an Activator, you find it hard to sit still in long meetings and you are prone to fidgeting or getting distracted. Ask for permission to take different actions (such as walking around the room) to stay focused and to sharpen your thoughts.
Concluding Thoughts: Those with the Activator StrengthsFinder theme are gifted in being able to turn thought into action. Without them, many projects would be stuck on the backburner, awaiting the day when "we've figured everything out." While they may sometimes be labeled as "rash" and "impulsive" (particularly if this theme is in its infancy), on most occasions this is a misunderstanding. At its maturity, the power of the Activator talent theme is in being "quick to act," becoming the catalyst for their team. After all, Activators know that at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.
Apt Quote for the 'Activator' StrengthsFinder Theme
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
Written by Tan Meiling
Meiling is a writer, editor, and Gallup-Certified StrengthsFinder Coach based in Singapore. As a StrengthsFinder® Coach, she is passionate about helping people discover their innate potential and celebrating who they are. She enjoys reading, learning, and sharing her knowledge through writing articles. Meiling is also actively giving StrengthsFinder coaching to individuals and facilitating workshops in Singapore.
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