With the Activator StrengthsFinder theme in my top 5, these are the two most common words I use in my everyday life.
Many times, I have been labeled as rash, impulsive, and impatient. Yet, I often feel that many fail to understand that action, right down to the act of moving around, is very important to me. A simple example: I think best when I am driving. I feel energized when I am driving from place to place. When I am upset, driving calms me down. My Activator motto is akin to “doing something is better than doing nothing". The Wife, who has "Responsibility," prefers the motto "doing nothing is better than doing something wrong." For example, I prefer to drive off and think about where to go for dinner while on the go. The Wife prefers to stay put and think about where to go before driving off. The Wife thinks I'm reckless. I beg to differ. The sense of momentum I gain by starting an action is very important to me. (By the way, I have never failed to bring the family to a delectable dinner destination. #justsaying)
Those with "Activator" in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results possess tremendous drive to turn thoughts into action. Their Activator talent theme causes them to be action-oriented and they thrive on experiential learning. Being an apprentice to a master craftsman or going through an internship will bear more fruit compared to a lecture or classroom learning. They are willing to try and transform ideas into action even if they are uncertain of their outcomes. The thought of inaction is simply unimaginable. Activators see themselves as catalysts or initiators.
How can an Activator grow this talent into a strength? I'd like to suggest a few ways.
1. Consider New Goals or Improvements your team should achieve, then develop a strategy to get things started.
Your Activator talent theme 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. Your Activator theme can thus 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.
3. Customize your decision-making and communication process.
While Activator is a powerful talent theme, our greatest strengths can also be our greatest weaknesses. The overextension of the Activator talent theme can sometimes land the Activator in adverse circumstances that could have been avoided. These are examples of self-regulating approaches one can take in order to grow our Activator talent towards maturity.
- Give yourself at least a day or 2 before making key decisions. In these 1 to 2 days, speak to a few trusted friends to sound them out on your decision.
- In any conversation / discussion, be aware that you are prone to react in your speech. When tempted to respond immediately, quickly scribble down your thoughts instead of verbalizing them. This can potentially save you some heartache, especially if you realize some of what you were about to blurt out might not necessarily have been well thought-through.
- Share with teammates your perspective that while there is a need to think through ideas, opportunities can be quickly lost in a fast-paced world. 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.
- Share with teammates that as an Activator, you find it hard to sit still in long meetings and you are prone to fidgeting. Ask for permission to take different actions (such as walking around the room) to stay focused and to process and sharpen your thoughts.
4. Seek COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPS
Partner people with Responsibility
Those with Responsibility tend not to take action when they are not sure whether that particular decision is the right one to make. In contrast, those with Activator would rather take action first, then think through and learn on the way. Partnering someone strong in the Responsibility talent allows for discussions that can encourage an Activator to think through the consequences of his/her intended actions. Questions that surface in the thought process may include: Is this the right thing to do? Is this a responsible decision? Will anyone be compromised or hurt through this decision? Do we have the resources and know-how to follow through on this project?
Partner people with Deliberative
Another Strengths partner may be someone high in the "Deliberative" talent. Those with the Deliberative talent tend to be cautious. They prefer to think through a decision, usually to the extent of the worst-case scenario. An Activator who partners a Deliberative person can enter into discussions that are geared towards many "what-if" scenarios. Out of these discussions, Activators are encouraged to think of potential roadblocks and possible contingency plans as part of his action items. Questions that may arise include: What is the worst possible outcome if we should proceed? What is a possible negative impact of this decision?
Partner people with Ideation
Activators have a penchant for turning ideas, even complex or seemingly cumbersome ones, into reality. Paired with those who are strong in Ideation, Activators can capitalize on the varied ideas churned out by their partners to find valuable opportunities. Activators thrive on identifying and seizing opportunities that many others may be oblivious to. In short, when a partnership is struck with those talented in Ideation, a great synergy occurs: those with Ideation take pride in their ideas while the Activators take pride in the action. Such a partnership, when wisely harnessed, can reap much fruit.
Ending Note: With Activator in my top 5, I am glad that the feedback I received of being an impulsive person has gradually changed to one who is "quick to act." I am hopeful that this journey of maturing this talent will continue to grow and I can use this Activator talent more productively and powerfully to be a blessing to others.
Written by Victor Seet
Activator • Communication • Strategic • Self-Assurance • Command
As a Gallup Certified StrengthsFinder coach, Victor is passionate about strengths engagement and now runs his own training company, Strengths School™ (strengthsschool.com). He has been actively giving StrengthsFinder leadership and team building workshops to businesses and schools in Singapore as well as Hong Kong, China (Shanghai) and India.
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