As an Activator, these are the two most common words I use in my everyday life as a Singaporean.
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. I enjoy sending people home, driving down the roads of Singapore. 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 "doing nothing is better than doing something wrong". For example, I prefer to drive off and think about the place to go for dinner while on-the-go. The Wife prefers to stay put, 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 result possess tremendous drive to put thought 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 its outcome. 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 will like to suggest a few ways.
1. CUSTOMIZE YOUR DECISION-MAKING AND COMMUNICATION PROCESS.
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 hem. This can potentially save you some heartache; especially if you realize some of what you were about to blurt out might not have necessarily 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 days 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.
- Intentionally put yourself in situations where you can make ideas happen and making these ideas come alive can increase your motivation and passion.
- Write down some actions that need to be taken before you forget. This will also help you take action at the right timing. Often the quicker you take action, the more motivated you will be.
- Be the one responsible to ask for an action plan for the team before a meeting is dismissed so that opportunities are capitalized.
2. SEEK PARTNERSHIPS THAT CAN ENHANCE YOUR TALENT
- Partner people with Responsibility
Find someone with the ‘Responsibility’ talent. Those with Responsibility tend not to take action when they are not sure if that particular decision is the right one to take. Partnering someone strong in the Responsibility talent allows for discussions that can encourage an Activator to think of 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?
- 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 a 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 road-blocks 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 if complex or seemingly cumbersome ones, into reality. Paired up with those who are strong in Ideation, Activators can capitalize on the varied ideas churned by their partners to find valuable opportunities. Activators thrive at 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 powerfully 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. In my coaching work in Singapore and around the region, I hope to 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 Singapore Strengthsfinder coach, Victor is passionate about strengths engagement and now runs his own training company, Strengths School™ (strengthsschool.com), based in Singapore. 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.