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.

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  • Chad T. Ahern

Strengths Positioning: Transitioners

Those who hold the line also need team members that can help the team move forward. This is where "Transitioners" come in.


Anyone who's watched a soccer game will recognize these individuals as your midfielders.


On the Field

Midfielders quite often serve as the chief communicators. They keep everyone aware of what the opposition is doing and help direct offensive and defensive assignments. They also take a lead role in distributing the ball based on the situation:

  • forward into gaps to help the attack,

  • backward to keep control of the game, and,

  • sideways to change the point of attack.

Here are two quick videos highlighting what midfielders can do for team.

This is one is of Paul Scholes, considered one of the best midfielders to ever play.


As the captions will outline, Paul continuously makes space for himself and his teammates, distributes the ball at just the right moments, and seeks to ensure his team maintains possession.

This short one captures what Lindsay Horan of the USWNT considers the key element to playing her midfield position.


(I'm not endorsing Dick Sporting Goods or Adidas here, nor do I receive any benefit from sharing this video.)



In Business

In the world of business, teams don't succeed without these individuals. Trying to take an initial data assessment or the seed of a new approach to successful completion of a goal in one fell swoop is akin to kicking a soccer ball from the back defensive line into the opposing teams penalty box and expecting it to land right at the feet of your teammate; it's highly unlikely. Your "opponents" of time, money, team energy bandwidth, external competitors, are all likely to deflect away your ideal "long-ball" pass.


Rather, you need individuals who can move the ball in and around these same "opponents". You retain possession. You move and morph your formation to methodically move your initiative forward. It is here that your "transitioner-style" teammates help you succeed. They:

  • Serve as connection points within your team and organization,

  • Look to incorporate everyone into the action,

  • Flex easily as situations change,

  • Help maintain team composure and perspective,

  • Identify better team formations and paths to success in the moment,

  • Turn data and identified pathways to success into action.

Neither a soccer ball nor your most innovative idea gets from start to successful finish without involving, at some level, these talented individuals.


Now, if we continue to the analogy from my last two posts and start to consider each of Gallup CliftonStrengths talent themes as a unique player, here are some of the talent-players you might find playing a "transitioning / midfielder"-like role:

  • Activator - can quickly start action based on a new idea or data analysis.

  • Adaptability - a roving player, they can fulfill different roles based on the situation; become a defensive player to help rescue a project, or sprint with the forwards to make sure the team succeeds.

  • Arranger - a master at arranging teammates based on the situation

  • Connectedness - can help their teammates see how actions taken by those holding the line impact how the finishers/forwards succeed.

  • Command - a field captain, ready to take charge and advocate for their team.

  • Communication - project transitions and overall team performance don't happen unless someone is keeping everyone informed.

  • Empathy - can sense what's coming next and the flow of the "game" -- in business and on the field

  • Includer - ensures that everyone contributes to the team success

  • Strategic - can see multiple paths to success and plays a key role in choosing, on the fly, the best path to success.

Do you have any of these talent themes? How do they help you help your team?

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