Leading with the Activator StrengthsFinder Talent

from idea to action

July 31, 2023
Activator StrengthsFinder motorcycle jumping

Idea to Action is the well-worn path of an activator. As someone with a trend toward action, you may already be the one running with an idea even before the meeting concludes.

“When can we start?” is the question the activator is always asking. 

Delay is the enemy as you find yourself wondering, “What are we waiting for? Let’s get started.” Some may interpret this as impatience, but you know that action is how important things will get done.

Your Strengths Have AntiPatterns

Activator StrengthsFinder TL;DR

The activator StrengthsFinder talent means you not only quickly see the action that can and must be taken, but you also are highly motivated to take it now.

If you’re already familiar with StrengthsFinder, you can skip over the next section.

What is StrengthsFinder?

SterengthsFinder is an assessment based on strengths psychology. The fundamental premise is you will get farther by maxing out your strengths rather than trying to improve your weaknesses. 

I’ve seen numerous leaders grow as they identified their talents and turned them into well-developed strengths. But you don’t have to be a leader to benefit from StrengthsFinder; it can be applied to more than just work. 

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses helps you better understand and live out your unique design.

Activator is just one of the 34 different strengths measured by StengthsFinder. When you take the assessment, you will get back your top 5 strengths. You can pay for an ordered list of all 34, but I wouldn’t recommend that the first time you take the assessment.

Focus is critical to developing your strengths. Keeping just your top 5 in view helps you make meaningful growth in the areas of your life with the highest leverage and impact. 

How do you lead well with activator in your StrengthsFinder top 5?

So you’ve taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, received your results and found activator in the list. Now you’re wondering how to grow or leverage this strength in your leadership. 

 You can bring the team a contagious energy and anticipation for what might be possible.

With a similar bent toward action, I get the angst of waiting when there's something critical to be done. I’ve facilitated numerous design sprints, which are an environment where activators really get to shine. 

Here are four strategies I’ve seen activators use to unleash their impact.

  1. Normalize iterations.
  2. Keep the laps short.
  3. Build an MVP team.
  4. Join a design sprint.

Learn to recognize behaviors when you're over-leveraging your strengths to the point that they become liabilities. And discover the path back to health.

Normalize iterations.

While others want to answer questions and clarify unknowns before getting started, you learn by doing. An iterative approach delivers unfinished work as a whole. It’s all there, but it’s not yet fully developed.

Think of a low-fidelity prototype for an app. You could draw it on a piece of paper and see the whole screen with all the features. None of them are complete or functional, but a user can interact with them and provide helpful feedback on how to develop each piece in the future.

A typical activator is a better fit for a startup than academia.

You know you will have to rework some (or most) initial concepts because it’s through taking action that you discover the constraints and opportunities. The key is to normalize this process for your team, so they don’t see the rework as wasteful but as critical research and discovery. 

Keep the laps short.

You will want to look for projects and industries with shorter timelines. It will feel highly draining if you have to wait weeks to take action or get feedback on a project.

While others want to answer questions and clarify unknowns before getting started, you learn by doing.

The fast pace of innovation, experimentation and prototypes will be life-giving for most activators, which makes a typical activator a better fit for a startup than academia.

Build an MVP team.

When designing a minimally viable product, not everything is complete and working, but some parts are. Most activators benefit from building a team whose strengths complement theirs. 

Look for others who can 

  • Check and complete the details.
  • Spend time testing.
  • Carry the project to the finish line. 

Naming and celebrating the difference between team members allows them to be celebrated and valued rather than a source of conflict. 

Join a design sprint.

As I mentioned earlier, activators shine brightly during design sprints. As part of a design sprint, your strength as an activator can help others get unstuck. 

Look to see if your organization has adopted design sprints or something like it. If you’re interested in bringing a facilitator to introduce the concept, reach out and let’s see what would work best for you. 

Next steps for StrengthsFinder activator.

As you learn to lead using your top activator strength, you can move more seamlessly from idea to action. 

You don’t have to be frustrated when others want to go slower; instead, you can bring the team a contagious energy and anticipation for what might be possible.

Action Plan

Activators can struggle with an antipattern of being reckless. Learning the strengths antipatterns will allow you to continue growing as a healthy, intentional leader. 

You are on a remarkable journey to living and leading from your strengths. You can explore the list below to learn about the rest of your top 5 strengths.

Frequently Asked Questions


So do I totally ignore my weaknesses and just focus on my strengths?

Strengths-based growth doesn’t encourage you to ignore your weaknesses but not to spend too much time trying to turn them into strengths. Instead, you may need to find team members or systems to fill in your gaps.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

There are strengths I think I have; why didn’t they didn’t show up in my top 5?

For some people, their strengths ranked 5, 6 or 7 are almost even. You could also be misattributing a skill or behavior to a specific strength.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

Should I pay to see all 34 strengths?

Seeing your other 29 strengths can help give you a fuller picture. But initially, someone should focus on further developing those top 5 strengths rather than trying to give attention across the list. Once you have a good grasp on what it looks like to lead from your top 5, it can be helpful to explore the rest of the list.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

What’s the difference between a talent and a strength?

A talent is your natural way of thinking or behaving. A strength is a talent developed over time through knowledge, skills and practice.

Learn more about how StrengthsFinder influences your leadership.

Ready to level up your company? Get in touch today!