As a person with Activator as my top StrengthsFinder theme, I love the idea of being fast. I have decided to share some of my thoughts on StrengthsFinder themes using the idea of “speed”. This is a follow up article to the last one I wrote on time-based StrengthsFinder Themes and is part 2 of a series on StrengthsFinder Theme Combinations. As someone who enjoys illustration by contrast, I will discuss some commonly perceived StrengthsFinder themes based on the idea of “fast” and “slow”.
Strengthsfinder “FAST” Themes:
Activator: Those with Activator in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results or dominant themes are usually known by their friends as being impatient and impulsive in nature. Activators tend to be “FAST in taking action" because of their unique wiring. “Actions speak louder than words”; “I learn as I do”; “Take action now before the opportunity is lost!” These are common thoughts tied to Activators. We can describe them as people who move fast but they are often seen as those who do not think things through and prone to make unsound decisions.
Strategic: Those with Strategic in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results or dominant themes are usually known by their friends as those who are “FAST to provide alternatives”. People with Strategic intuitively see different paths to the same destination and love to explore the best option. We can describe them as those who can think quickly on their feet and talented in finding shortcuts. However, they can also be perceived as those who jump to conclusions rather quickly instead of taking time to hear what others have to say.
Woo: Those with Woo in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results or dominant themes are usually known by their friends as those who are socially adventurous. They are “FAST in making connections with people” and they usually pride themselves as sociable, outgoing and friendly. People with Woo enjoy connecting wide rather than deep and their speed in connection sometimes cause others to label them as “social butterflies”. They can also be perceived as people who prefer to make social connections over completing work tasks.
Adaptability: Those with Adaptability in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results or dominant themes are usually known by their friends as those who are easy going and flexible. They are “FAST in responding to sudden changes” and can be seen as highly spontaneous in nature. This unique ability empowers them to bounce back quickly and respond to dynamic situations. As opposed to many who prefer to be adequately prepared in nature, people with Adaptability can sometimes be perceived as those who are reactive rather than anticipatory.
Strengthsfinder “SLOW” Themes:
Context: Those with Context in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results or dominant themes are usually known by their friends as people who enjoy reminiscing the past. Knowing the past helped those with Context to find emerging blueprints as well as tried and tested solutions. Before making a decision, those with Context need to know what has happened before, what contributed to the existing situation, why certain decisions were made previously etc. We can describe them as people who have a special ability to keep the connections between different generations by building on past successes. Because of the need to understand background and past information, people with Context are perceived to be “SLOW in decision making”. They can sometimes be long-winded and share unnecessary details when they chair meetings. They can also be perceived as those who drag out meetings because of the tendency to ask questions that require extensive sharing of background information and past data.
Relator: Those with Relator in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results or dominant themes are usually known by their friends as those who are authentic, trustworthy, loyal and will go the extra mile for their close friends, regardless of inconvenience. They take time to forge deep connections, believing that people take time to open up their hearts and build trust. We can describe Relators to be those who break work barriers and are able to cultivate genuine friendships. A work team filled with Relators can have the potential to build extremely tightly knitted groups with high trust and loyalty to one another. Relators can be perceived as “SLOW to warm up to new faces” and are cliquish and unfriendly. Relators can struggle in environments where the need to build fast connections is a work requirement.
Deliberative: Those with Deliberative in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results or dominant themes are usually known by their friends as those who are careful, attentive to details and socially private. They take time to think deep in order to assess potential danger. They are very confident once they have their own conclusion after adequately assessing the risks involved. They thrive in work that require high governance and strong attention to details. However, they can often be misconstrued as “SLOW in decision making” especially when urgent and quick decisions need to be made.
Harmony: Those with Harmony in their top 5 StrengthsFinder results or dominant themes are usually known by their friends as those who are collaborative and peace-making. In a team setting, people with Harmony dislike conflicts and will make efforts to hear each person out and to find a common ground to move forward. As a result, they can be “SLOW in decision making”, preferring to make sure people’s opinions are considered than to make a decision of their own. They take time to find consensus and get alignment in order to move forward. They thrive in work that require strong teamwork and are often the glue in holding together a high performance team.
StrengthsFinder Theme Combinations:
When any two of the “fast” StrengthsFinder themes are within the dominant strengths of an individual, the interaction is likely to cause the “speed” to increase further. For example, a person with Activator and Adaptability can suddenly decide to purchase an item while shopping in a store and the purchase will be completed almost instantaneously (regardless of the price). It does not matter if there could be a better deal at another store. It is the desire to act now in order to own a particular item that makes the shopping fulfilling.
When any two of the “slow” themes are within the dominant strengths of an individual, the interaction is likely to cause the “speed” to decrease further. For example, a leader of a team who possesses both Relator and Harmony will prefer to speak to each team member on a 1-1 basis to find consensus on a particular matter. Making a quick decision will be extremely uncomfortable for such an individual as he or she will feel that the best decision can only be made after gathering feedback from each individual.
Using another example, a person who has both Deliberative and Relator as dominant strengths will take more time to open up and connect to others in new environments. The speed that this individual takes to build trust with new faces and to work well with them will likely be slower in comparison to others.
When an individual has both a "fast" StrengthsFinder theme and a “slow” StrengthsFinder theme in the dominant strengths, the end result will usually depend on the maturity of the individual as well as the context. For example, a young person who has both Activator and Deliberative as dominant strengths could be careless when there is a need to be careful and slow in decision making when there is a need to be quick in order to grab an opportunity. In maturity, this individual will have the unique ability to display the right strength at the right time.
Concluding Thoughts: As a Leadership Coach who enjoys helping leaders in the area of personal development, I acknowledged that people’s perceptions are derived from many factors and not limited to simply “StrengthsFinder themes”. The broad categorization of the StrengthsFinder themes is by no means an absolute and this article is written to share my own personal thoughts and to create greater awareness of the interesting dynamics.
Written by Victor Seet
Activator • Communication • Strategic • Self-Assurance • Command