Peak Performance: The Energize Talents

achiever activator restorative significance May 26, 2023
Sunset over Colorado

When driving to Colorado from the east on I-70 it suddenly hits you. On the horizon the distant silhouette of the Rocky Mountains jumps into view. Some peaks that loom a little higher than the others look like they are right next to each other – from your perspective 100 miles away. But as you drive another couple of hours you realize those peaks that looked close to each other and similar in size on the horizon are hours away from each other, separated by other mountains, valleys, and hills in between that make them unique, distinct, and different from your original two-dimensional view from the eastern plains.

I was recently asked in a workshop if some talents can look like others or imitate one another. I used this mountain metaphor to illustrate how when we are first learning about our talents and the talents of others it can be a bit confusing when they are observed from a distance. One common example would be some of the stronger Energize talents like Achiever, Activator, Restorative and Significance. At first glance they can all look like they are internally-driving and productive at different paces and stages. But when we zoom into a close-up shot we can see the distinctive drives of how they Get Stuff Done. 

The flurry of activity driving the Activator is going to be more in the early stages of a project or program. They are taking the initiative and launching ideas and objectives off the white board and into action. How far and long they engage will vary. The Achiever talent will drive actions and activity for the finish line once something is on their physical or mental list. Their activity can overlap with the duration of the Activator so they can look like they are one and the same.

The Restorative talent can also have a high degree of accomplishment, emulating the Activator and Achiever peaks, but when we get into the valley of separation, we see a different intrinsic drive for the Restorative. It’s not the start or the finish but the fixing or problem-solving that engages this talent. It is  getting to the root of and restoring unforeseen issues that have arisen or something that may have broken down along the way.

The Restorative’s motivation is very different from the internal push of the Significance talent. It is the importance and impact the work will have and the potential to stand out that drives the outcomes of this talent. Recognition can often be the reward driving this talent while their actions are imitating the other three Energizers. Doing something they can look back and be proud on is often the ultimate goal.

As you can see, the 100-mile perspective can lead to some confusion and miscalculation when we are trying to identify talents in others. So how do we distinguish similar talents without knowing the Top 5 talents of the people in our lives? For the Energize talents it can be as simple as asking some simple questions: Why do you do what you do? What drives you? Would you rather be the starter, the finisher, or the fixer? Is your work about moving forward or leaving something behind? Those answers can give us some differentiating clues to the “Why” behind their GSD quotient.