Talent Combinations: When 1 + 1 = 3

achiever activator command communication competition connectedness focus futuristic includer maximizer relator responsibility strategic woo Sep 28, 2022

It’s not new math, it’s Talent Combinations. This is when two talents working together in an individual can look like a third talent. Like red and blue combining to make purple or hydrogen and oxygen uniting to form water, two talents working well together can simulate another. For instance, the vision of the forward-thinking Futuristic talent combined with the get-it-done Achiever talent in someone’s Top 5 can impersonate the effect of the start-with-the-end-in-mind Strategic talent. Sometimes we are sure we see a talent in someone’s Top 5 but in reality it can be two talents posing as a third.  

Lisa has spent a career developing her Communication talent in directing and developing leadership. When this combines with her Strategic talent she not only mitigates the Kryptonite of Strategic but can also proactively and intentionally communicate plans and solve people problems. Having the end picture in mind and using relevant verbiage that provides understanding and application can have the same effect as the presence and clarity many with Command use to persuade or direct others. Whether empowering an intern to take on a new role that fits their talents or going toe to toe with the CEO over building a multiplying leadership culture this combination served her well especially in a work culture that valued some of the harder driving mobilize talents.

Many with talent combinations will resonate with the hybrid effect of those two talents, but some don’t see the talent internally, yet others experience it on the outside. Mike had Achiever and Competition, which can meld to look like Maximizer. While putting up Christmas lights he pulled the last section too tight, causing the string to snap and lights to break. In frustration he decided to just leave the last section out and cut some corners to just get it done. But as he looked at the result he was not satisfied. “Then my son came out and said, ‘Why aren’t we going to have the best lights on the block this year?’ and I felt the motivation of ‘Do it right or don’t do it at all’ that often accompanies the Maximizer talent.” Needless to say, the combined drive of finishing to win (plus the extrinsic motivation from his son) led to a “Maximized” second effort that produced a “push for excellence” outcome of holiday luminaries.

Sometimes the simulation of the third talent from a combination will show up in selective ways. One of the most common talent combinations, Relator and Achiever, can meld to look like Responsibility. At a team building workshop a manager with a younger female employee who had this combo felt that she was anything but Responsible. I asked him to think about her Relator talent being very selective in who it connects with and in this case Achieves for. “Oh my gosh, yes- now I see it! If someone on the team in her inner circle has a birthday or personal issue she is planning the party or leading the parade of support like no one else.” The combination effect resulting in a faux Responsibility was experienced only for those within her Relator circle.

From Activator and Achiever emulating Focus to Connectedness and Woo giving the impression of Includer, there are 16 of these combinations. And if you have one it can be like getting 6 talents in your top tier for the price of 5.  In fact, I have coached individuals who had 3 talent combinations, giving them the appearance of 8 different talents in their Top 5!

So to see if you have a Talent Combination click here for a list of the most common combinations we see.