Achiever: Setting the Pace for Production

A CliftonStrengths Theme Spotlight

"People exceptionally talented in the Achiever theme work hard and possess a great deal of stamina. They take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive." -The Gallup Organization

For as long as I can remember, I've been a busy person. I used to feel guilty about it, but I've come to understand that I actually thrive and flourish when my schedule is tight and I've got a lot of work to do.

As it turns out, Achiever is my #2 strength. (Note: If you aren't familiar with the CliftonStrengths assessment and want to learn more, check out a few resources here)

My Achiever talent explains my insatiable drive to succeed and accomplish my goals. It explains why, as a 6 year old, I was making elaborate to-do-lists. It explains why, as a grown woman, I often make to-do lists of to-do lists.

And if I'm being really vulnerable, it explains why I struggle with finding my identity in my work.

Whether you've got a dominant Achiever theme yourself, or whether you work with or lead someone high in the Achiever theme, here's some helpful information to equip you to work more meaningfully and productively with others.

The Talents of People High in Achiever

People high in Achiever are passionate about their productivity. They are tireless workers and bring stamina to their teams and workplaces. When other people seem to struggle to work long and hard hours, those with an Achiever theme seem strangely energized by it. In fact, others are often in awe of, or even perplexed by, an Achiever's ability to keep working.

Achievers also have a sustained and strong work ethic that keeps them hungry to move forward, always with the finish-line in sight. They are typically juggling multiple balls at one time, but thrive and flourish in busy and fast-paced environments that would likely overwhelm others. Independent and resilient, Achievers typically work best when they get to set and control the pace of their own production.

As leaders, those high in Achiever can motivate their teams to produce and accomplish more than the team thought possible on their own. Achievers can help others manage massive projects because they break down large, complicated endeavors into smaller goals and create several milestones along the way that keep everyone feeling productive.

Speaking about his manager with a dominant Achiever theme, one individual told us:

"He works harder than anyone I've ever met. We call him the Energizer Bunny around here. But that energy to achieve keeps us all motivated too."

The Temptations for People High in Achiever

Because those high in Achiever are passionate about productivity, they are prone to taking on too much or spreading themselves too thin. They typically take longer to reach burnout than the average employee, but if they aren't careful, they'll exhaust themselves. They won't sleep as much as necessary, eat as healthy as necessary, or exercise as much as necessary to keep up the pace. Because, after all, they've got work to do.

They can get unbalanced, fast.

Those high in Achiever also struggle celebrating their accomplishments, because once it's checked off the to-do list, it's on to the next task! In fact, to an Achiever, every day starts at zero.

Every. Single. Day.

One client with Achiever told us:

"What I accomplished yesterday means very little to me today except that it propelled me to the next goal or task. I know I need to stop and celebrate more but I can't enjoy the celebration anyway because I'm already past it and focused on what's next."

If you've got Achiever in your Top 5, you might also struggle finding your identity in your work or your achievements. You might begin to believe the lie that you are only as valuable as your last accomplishment.

Therefore, it's important that you consistently surround yourself with people who remind you that your worth is not found in your productivity or your to-do list. You've got to remind yourself, too.

Sometimes people high in Achiever can grow resentful of their coworkers due to a perceived lack of productivity. At times, they don't want to work collaboratively or delegate because they assume it won't get done correctly or fast enough if they aren't setting the schedule themselves.

And if you're a leader with Achiever, pay special attention to the ways you communicate with team members about your expectations and their performance. Without realizing it or intending it, you can communicate that work is more important to you than people. You can exhaust your people if you always expect them to run at the same pace you do.

An Achiever To-Do List (See what I did there?)

Here are a couple of quick ideas to get you thinking about how to leverage and self-regulate if you've got a dominant Achiever theme:

  1. You need clear goals and deadlines, even if you have to set them for yourself. Consider breaking assigned tasks and projects into smaller goals so you can experience the feeling of achievement more often. These little "wins" will keep you motivated to keep moving.

  2. Consider partnering with motivated individuals who are high in Strategic Thinking themes such as Ideation, Learner or Intellection. They can help you stay balanced with their thoughtful approach to tasks and projects, help you filter ideas to determine the best course of action to take so you can begin executing and making it happen.

  3. Communicate your expectations clearly when working with or leading a team. If you plan to work longer and harder than them (and you probably will), make sure you let them know to expect that so they don't feel pressure to keep up with your pace.

At ROI Talent Development, we try to help people fall in love with every single talent theme, even if it isn't dominant in their own theme sequence. Because when we all take the time to understand and appreciate one another, we build happy and healthy workplaces where employee talents are valued and developed.

So take some time this week to encourage your coworkers who have dominant Achiever themes. Ask them what's on their to-do lists this week. Ask them how long they've been working on a big project. Tell them you appreciate their work ethic, passion and drive.

And watch them make stuff happen in your workplace.

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