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The Sideline Blog

Just as sports players come to the sideline for rest and guidance, this blog is meant to provide you some insight and guidance as you explore your Strengths journey.

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are 
trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

  • Writer's pictureChad T. Ahern

Strengths Positioning: Activator

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

A stopwatch, inspiring the idea of starting action
Launching the game.

Leaders, and colleagues, need to position people on work project teams effectively and efficiently to ensure work gets done and people stay engaged. A lot of leaders spend too much time trying to guess where to put people because they don't have a point of reference.

What follows is a "scouting report" for those with Activator® talents.

If you are a leader or a colleague of someone with Activator talents, consider how you can best position them in the context of your team and your projects. You can also use this as a discussion piece to find out how they see and use their Activator talents.

Each person with Activator talents operates differently. Make sure you're not missing out on their unique contribution.

Scouting Report

This theme is key in helping your team "get things started".


  • On the soccer pitch, these players can "spark" the switch play from defense to offense. In the working world, an individual with Achiever talents can play a critical role in being one of the first to take even a semi- researched idea (from your "defensive players") and begin turning it into reality.

  • Can bring intensity and energy to a team that is struggling to "power through" or getting over the first hurdle of action.

  • Can push teams to identify key action items; therefore bringing clarity to the team's first few steps. By identifying the key steps, they can kick start a "flywheel of action" and build a sense of momentum.


Ways in which this theme might "overplay" itself

  • May start projects before all/majority of the information is collected & processed, before others are ready for action, or even before garnering enough buy-in (or approval) from others.

  • Because they can be impatient, they may pass a project along to a colleague before fully completing their part. Incomplete or unconsidered work can leave other team members having to pick up the slack or redo the original work. On the soccer pitch, one might recognize this as a pass that comes up short or pulls a teammate out of an ideal position.

  • Activity for activity sake may bring some energy to this individual, but will quickly burnout colleagues and teammates.

Talent Combos / Position Modification

  • Strategic: "Forward Thinking Midfielder" - Individuals who can meld their Activator & Strategic talents provide any team with a potent mix of options, thoughtfulness, and action. Since their Strategic talents will help them identify & assess the validity of multiple ways to start a project, and Activator talents will inspire actions on many fronts all at once; these individuals can drastically reduce the time and effort spent testing and learning from new initiatives.

  • Deliberative: "The Stopper" - In soccer, a "stopper" is supposed to take quick action to cut off attacks from the opposing team. Applying a Activator + Deliberative talent combo in the working world can help a team to quickly identify and address business obstacles or risks.

  • Command: "Attacking Midfielder" - An individual with Command & Activator talents is more likely to not just initiate action out of the defense, but will take charge of bringing a project through the midfield. Their certainty of action can also help inspire others to join the cause.

Game Film

Check out these videos from Gallup to learn more

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