“Every day starts at zero.”
If you just said, “Well, of course, it does,” you may be in the company of the Achiever talent. This talent is all about completion.
Let’s explore how the collection of talents in the Achiever theme makes contributions as a leader.
First, we’ll look at how the Achiever talent may contribute to new initiatives. I’m speaking to all of you with an entrepreneurial thread in your soul! Then, we’ll look at how the Achiever talent participates in a team. Finally, I’ll compare and contrast what the Achiever talent may sound like alongside other talents in the Executing Domain and one in the Influencing Domain.
Starting Something New?
I see you.
You have an entrepreneurial spirit. You start new things or bring a new approach to an old problem. How can the Achiever talent help you lead?
When I’m around entrepreneurs or listen to solopreneurs, there is a myriad of ideas around you at all times. Sometimes you’re improving other people’s ideas. Sometimes you have a stroke of genius. (No, I’m not saying you’re only a genius some of the time. I KNOW you have talent! That makes you a genius.)
With an idea of a new way to approach a problem, a new ministry to begin with your community, or a new business idea to test out, how can the Achiever talent help you?
The Achiever talent is all about making progress toward completion. Use this talent to define a testing period, to run an experiment, to chart a certain number of conversations. The Achiever talent can help you get things done.
“How?” you ask. Great question.
Your talents, i.e., CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder), tell you how you get things done. Knowing your dominant talents from the CliftonStrengths tool is not about what you like to do or even why you do it. Your themes tell you HOW you naturally think, feel, and behave. In other words, it points to your raw talent.
When we talk about strengths we caution that the talent them names (Achiever, Activator, Strategic, Deliberative, etc.) are not labels because your talents are how you do things, not what you do.
How does the Achiever talent get things done?
As an executing talent, this theme brings a great deal of energy to their work. People with this talent likely enjoy the idea of work. Whether you define work as getting something done around the house or getting a project finished at work. You enjoy it because you like finishing things.
Think about this theme as focused on completion. Often, a checklist is used to depict this talent. And whether you’re a list-maker or not, if you have this talent, it’s likely you approach life and work focused on accomplishments.
Achiever On a Team
A variety of talents that make up the Achiever talent theme all point to getting things done. Your motivation is the finish line.
As a leader, here’s what that might look like for the Achiever talent:
- Motivating a team to get a major project done.
- Setting the pace, especially if there are long hours involved.
- Defining for the team what the finish line looks like each day.
- Guiding others to increase the pace at which people work together.
- Helping people follow through on outstanding commitments.
Are you beginning to get the idea? If you’re someone with the Achiever talent, you’re likely going to think more about crossing the finish line and about getting things done.
Here’s an example.
I have the Achiever talent #2. I often find myself as a coach in the middle of a coaching session helping leaders find ways to follow through on outstanding commitments, breaking down a challenge into definable steps, and asking, “What can you do first? By when?” That’s the beauty and challenge the Achiever talent brings.
- Think about all the things you have the opportunity to work on today. What does “done” look like? Describe it for your team. Then, your Achiever talent will make sure it is DONE.
- The next time someone delegates a task to you, ask this simple question: What does “done” look like? Then, together have a conversation about the timeline.
Contrasting the Achiever talent with other Executing Talents
The Achiever talent might say “I do it because I find great pleasure in completing my tasks.” Achiever is all about progress towards completion.
Let me contrast what I just shared with you about achiever with some of the other talents in the executing domain. This domain of talent brings together all of the CliftonStrengths that point to getting things done.
So if Achiever is about completion of tasks, here’s how that contrasts with other talents in the executing domain.
Why do you complete a task?
- The Responsibility talent might say, “I do it because other people are counting on me to get it done.”
- Deliberative might say “I do it because it’s a well thought out decision that has been made.”
- Discipline may say “I do it to create more order and structure all around me.”
Achiever and Activator in Contrast
As a leader, you need to influence people toward action and help people get things done. Said differently, you see the potential in people and processes and help develop that potential. That’s what makes you a leader.
A Side By Side Look at Achiever and Activator
The Activator talent lives in the influencing domain. If you have talents in the Influencing Domain, you know how to take charge, speak up, and make sure the team is heard. Let me be clear, even if you don’t have a talent in the Influencing Domain, if you lead, and do it well, you likely know how to “speak up, take charge and make sure the team is heard.” Or, you partner closely with someone who does.
I want to contrast these two talents because they run in different parts of the same race.
You might say that Achiever is about getting to the finish line and Activator is about getting started at the starting line.
I have both of these talents in my dominant talents.
Here’s how I see them at play in my life as a leader. I am a list maker. No, I don’t have lists of lists. But, I do make a daily list of what I need to do – every day. Why? Because, as I began this article, every day starts at zero.
But, Activator helps me ask, “When can we start? While my Achiever talent responds to that question with, “so I can finish.” As a result, Achiever keeps me going on what I’ve started.
Do you have the Achiever talent in your top 5? What do you love about how this talent? How does it help you lead? Let me know in the comments below.