What It Means to be an Arranger


What Is the ARRANGER Them

Arrangers are the people in our lives who have a natural sense of productive order and who can effortlessly manage many spinning plates at once.  They are able to structure their thinking and actions like those of a conductor—bringing complex, multifaceted, and multi-phased elements into seamless coordination.  This is how they get things done.  For them, being outward looking, nimble, and flexible are keys to true productivity.  Why stick with Plan A or B, when Plan Z is so much better?  The best configuration possible is far more important to them than sticking with something based on principle or others’ egos—if there is a more efficient method, do it.  They come alive during times of change and can maximize efficiency—even under stress—by visualizing the outcome.  In this way, they are drawn to that which is both intense and still-becoming, because they know that a little wiggle-room mixed with a bit of pressure brings out the best in them.  Arrangers keep us tuned in to opportunities for growth and action all around us in the motion-filled, ever-changing world.

Why Should We Care

They are great managers of resources and of people because they intuitively draw on other’s Strengths and leverage potential by putting the best pieces in the best order.  They might not be able to explain how they know what they know—but they are usually right, especially when it comes to streamlining things.  They are resourceful, creative, and brave, often willing to dive into chaos headfirst in search of signs of order.  In a nutshell, they are super capable people who have a particular knack for orchestration—moving things from the invisible into the visible.  The saying, “If you can’t find a way out, find a deeper way in” may very well resonate with them.  This is because they prefer newness to comfort—that which is procedural or well-worn holds little magic for them.  To be at the heart of the action is important to them; though, this does not mean that they prefer pandemonium.  Instead, when their spirit of openness is paired with their ability to execute they are able to bring forces, teams, and ideas together that create positive, lasting, and meaningful impacts.

Ten Things to Know About People with ARRANGER

1. Quick. These are people who get thought-flashes.  An idea will pop into their head and sometimes, without warning, they will suddenly shift gears or change directions.

2. Routines. Folks with the Arranger theme generally prefer dynamism to predictability.  They may choose to change things up just to see what it’s like.  Their aim, in any situation, however, is to reach a more perfect arrangement.

3. Stamina. They are able to create solutions and coordinate various moving consistently and with a great measure of accuracy.  It can be effortless for them.

4. Firsthand. For them, actually being there—where the action is—is key.  They don’t really want to hear about what is going to happen if, instead, there is an opportunity for them to actually be there.  They are people who prefer, when possible, to see for themselves.

5. Intuitive. Arrangers are highly intuitive people who generally get things done by listening to their gut and trusting what they hear.  Their innate senses of composition, balance, and alignment are the tools with which they do their best work.  They are also quite sensitive to when something is “off” about a person or a situation.

6. Memory. They are able to process a lot of information very quickly and they seem to remember the way that things are done—the strategy or the approach—more than they remember the minute details of each moving part.  In a way, they think in “systems” and are always refining them.

7. Multi-tasking. This is their art.  They are very perceptive and can anticipate concerns and next steps very easily.

8. Connections. They may not shy away from juxtaposition or combining seemingly strange ideas when it comes to their thought processes.  They like to look for links between seemingly disparate elements—sometimes just to see what happens, but often in order to learn the limits and boundaries of their thinking and the world.

9. Making things. They might be drawn to making things which call upon their sense of design and composition, like models, quilts, and scrapbooks.  Games like dominos, war, and mouse-trap seem to hold a particular excitement for them.

10. They will likely prefer for their relationships to be dynamic and without a sense of predictability.  Arrangers like for their connections to evolve naturally, as opposed to evolving along a set of predetermined benchmarks.  Their attitude might often be, “Let’s see where this goes.”

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

What It Really Means to Have Command


What Is the COMMAND Theme

Those with Command are the people in our lives who instinctively assume control of situations and lead the way forward.  For them, stepping up and taking charge is life giving, and it completely aligns with their preference for taking action and looking life in the eye.  They live in the spirit of “Just Do It”.  For those reasons, they are generally goal driven and outcome-oriented; they value the process of scaling up and having something tangible to show for their work.  Their zone of excellence is when they are making decisions, delegating, and moving ahead.  They are naturally able to evaluate a situation, take a stance, and then act on it.  When something matters to them, they rarely hesitate to share their thoughts and make their voices heard.  Not surprisingly, they are totally comfortable with having their own opinions and feeling about things—even when their views are unpopular.  Because they are self-assured in their ability deliver results, being liked and understood is less important to them than being in command and doing the next right thing.  So, a minority-of-one scenario is no big deal to them, they might even feel energized by the challenge of it.  That is, they are visionary people who confidently play the long-game—knowing that, when they take action, the end justifies the means.  They are models of courage.

Why Should We Care

People with the Strength of Command are often willing to do what no one else will do—be it stepping into the unknown, walking through figurative or literal fires, or facing fears.  They are the ones whom we naturally turn to in times of crisis, emergency, and mayhem.  They are present, magnetic, and  highly intelligent people who are not easily frightened, badgered, or overwhelmed.  We can rely on them, even if they are, at times, heavy handed or intimidating.  Their ability to make decisions unflinchingly can create needed change and help to cultivate turning points during challenging times and periods of stasis or unrest.  Fact is, leadership comes easily to them, and they may not even be aware of the fact that they are conducting the operations of a room, group, or project.  They are persuasive, bold, and truthful.  In some ways, being in charge is their default mode, their baseline and it cannot be turned off.  People with Command demand honesty and have little patience for anything less.  They bring out our true selves and, in precisely that way, they draw out the best in us.  In their presence, we can often do more than we thought possible.

Ten Things to Know About People with COMMAND

1. Intuition. They are highly intuitive people who are willing to take massive action based on gut feelings and then own the results fully.  Be it success or failure, they are not ones to regret following their instincts.

2. Both Sides. It’s true that they are natural leaders, so they hold other leaders to a high standard.  When they, themselves, are being led they need to know and feel that it is being done effectively.  They may become highly critical and possibly vocal about the uninspired, poor, or thoughtless leadership of others.  It may be personally offensive to them.

3. Weeds. They do not like being “in the weeds” during decision making processes.  They operate best at a high-level, making executive decisions and then rallying people around them to handle the details.

4. Go Big. They are here to have an impact, so don’t be surprised if they apply extremely expansive thinking to all that they pursue.  Because they prefer to go big in their lives, they may have a tendency to leave others in the dust, which generally isn’t personal.

5. Impatience. They are prone to bouts of restlessness, irritability, and thoughts of “I could be doing more” (about themselves) or “They could be doing more.” (about others).  They might have a difficult time relaxing and unwinding at the end of the day.  If they are alone, they like to be doing, building, or destroying something.  They are generally project-oriented with an all-in or all-out attitude.

6. Theory. In general, they like to know, rather than to assume, presume, or speculate.  Theorizing and intellectualizing about abstractions can be incredibly uninteresting to them—as are hypotheses and conjecture.  They may view this type of mental activity as a pointless waste of time.

7. Confrontation. Because they are the ones who seem to come alive under pressure and take charge without hesitation, they do not avoid confrontation.  For them, confrontation is a necessary part of the way forward—they expect it and welcome it.  Confrontation is often one of the ways that they choose learn about others.

8. Yeses. They generally have little respect for “yes people” because they, understandably, see them as inauthentic and untrustworthy.  Folks with Command prefer that others have opinions as strong as their own.  To them, another’s backbone is highly respected—even if they disagree with them.

9. Heightened States. Even if they seem unassuming on the outside, people with Command usually have an intense inner-world.  They are incredibly aware and constantly alert, and they may find themselves craving a little disruption now and then, which would give way to their command-energy and allow them an appropriate channel for their authority.

10. When it comes to love, they are drawn to the idea of strategic partnerships.  Like a yin-yang, they prefer others who might add to or complement/contrast their strengths as opposed to mirror and relate to them.  They seek connections that are purposeful, not fleeting or frivolous.  They are also likely happy to go it alone.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

What Consistency Really Means


What Is the CONSISTENCY Theme

Those with the strength of Consistency are the people in our lives who have a strong sensitivity to fairness and make it a constant priority to treat all people equally.  For them, injustice, favoritism, and discrimination are not only wrong, they are absolutely repulsive.  People with Consistency care about balance and see every person as the same—as a human being—not a job title, a bank account, or a friend of so-and-so.  They believe that everyone deserves a level playing field—regardless of their station in life or who they know—and, in their eyes, bias and prejudice of any kind have no proper place in the world.  In this way, they can be remarkably objective and tolerant of external differences as well as strikingly compassionate, patient, and understanding.  They notice when the scales have been tipped and they are, generally, willing to fight against it.  For them, life is about fairness and awareness, a state of being deeply conscious of others and honoring them with outward respect and impartiality.  The same rules should apply to all people, not just some.  They are the people who will stand up for others and stand by their side.  They offer solidarity and support, they give voice to the voiceless.

Why Should We Care

People with Consistency are champions of the unseen and of those whose efforts are taken for granted, they can almost always point out who deserves credit for what.  They value everybody and make significant efforts to find the good in each person.  For that reason, we can trust them to be fair, balanced, and open-minded.  They naturally challenge us to do the same and to give all others an equal chance.  For them, life should be fair.  Because, really, how can a person truly show what they are capable of when the deck is stacked against them?  People should earn their place in society based on their personal merit, skills, and achievements, not on their network, parents, or luck at birth.  They are proponents of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and they instinctively approach life with a sense of duty.  Those with the strength of Consistency are protectors, keepers, and guardians against tilted scales and unfair advantages.  Even if, at times, they might seem over-the-top, they do keep others, teams, and organizations in check and they are incredibly skilled at identifying blind spots.  They encourage us to see the world through a different set of eyes, to cultivate social empathy, and to walk in the shoes of others.  They remind us that we need to be aware of one another and that we all do better when we all do better.

Ten Things to Know About People with CONSISTENCY

1. Self-care. They may have the tendency to put the needs of others before their own.  They are always practicing balance in their own lives: how to keep their own cup replenished while not over-taking or interfering with the lives of others.  The world can feel very heavy to them, at times.  They likely recharge in quiet solitude as opposed to spending time with others.

2. Discouraged. Since it is a priority for them to lower their guard, not make assumptions, and treat other equally, many folks with this strength end up getting burned from time to time.  They are not, however, easily discouraged or turned away from their work in the world.  Whatever it may be, their mission is their mission.

3. Social Justice. They are wired to fight for the rights of the disenfranchised, the marginalized, and the ostracized.  At the same time, they may become hyper-aware of their own privilege, which can create a lifelong lose/lose situation for them internally.  They may always feel the need to rise up for others and, as a result, develop guilt feelings if they do anything else or enjoy the comforts of the world.

4. Selfishness. They despise selfishness.  Their radars are tuned very highly to pick up on it.

5. Structure. For them, order, consistency, and predictability are meaningful.  When people know what is expected of them, when they can plan, and when they know in advance what they are getting into, they will be at their best.  If there are rules, they should be clear and apply to everyone.

6. Intensity. They seem to feel things with their whole body, especially injustice.  They may release this energy by gesticulating, standing up, moving around, even, jumping up and down while talking about certain subjects.  Even depictions of unfairness in movies and television, or descriptions of it in books, might get them fired up.

7. Non-human. Their energy is not constrained to purely human issues.  They are likely to care about issues related to the fair and humane treatment of animals as well as environmental issues such as land and resource management and sustainability.  They may actually relate better to animals, who, in their eyes, might have a more natural sense of the world and its balance.

8. Acceptance. They may have a hard time accepting that unfairness, nepotism, and injustice exist at all.  They may ruminate on it and continually activate emotions in connection with specific thoughts.  Their impulse is to act and to fight against such forces.  Don’t be surprised if they choose to take action and speak out.

9. Rules. They generally like rules, structure, and defined boundaries.  This does not mean that they are always rigid.  For them, the main purpose of a rule is to level the playing field, not to limit people.  So, they may actually view rules as liberating.  They are generally happy to explore and challenge the range of possibilities within the given parameters.

10. Love. They are champions of falling in love with the person—not the person’s car, house, looks, or social status.  They naturally see past most of that and seek authentic connection with others.  This goes both ways, they may be reserved when it comes to their own looks and achievements, because they prefer for others to see the real person behind all that.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

The Uniqueness of Individualization



People with the strength of Individualization instinctively identify what makes a person or a situation unique.  They are the ones in our lives who naturally draw out the best in others by tuning in to what sets that person apart and makes them special and distinct.  For them, every individual is completely one-of-a-kind and, therefore, remarkable in some way—and, they love to find out exactly how.  It is life-giving and rewarding to discover the uniqueness of each and every human life.  Even when they look back in time, they like to uncover what distinguished one historical figure from another.  They are outwardly open-minded, curious, and intuitive in their approach to living, and they actively—sometimes dramatically—avoid labeling others or lumping them into groups, categories, or systems.  It is not in their nature to make assumptions or to speak generally.  They prefer personal understanding over cultural understanding when considering the world.  It’s effortless for them to find the innate value in others and to honor that within each person.  Folks with Individualization make us feel seen, known, and understood, and they help us distinguish what makes us valuable.  In a phrase: They remind us that we are each actually important.

Why Should We Care

They are, first and foremost, incredibly observant people who have sharp senses and a deep, sincere interest in the personal uniqueness of others.  This functions as a sort of intuitive radar, which has them focusing on quality differences not general similarities.  Those with Individualization are great ‘readers’ of people, and are able to quickly assess how another thinks and what motivates them.  Like the name suggests, they see each person as an individual.  So, when it comes to teams, social groups, and families, they are keenly aware of the needs of each individual person and can naturally detect how everyone plays a part—a key role.  They do not think in simplified wholes.  And they can draw out secret, hidden, or purely unknown qualities in us that can feel liberating and empowering.  They can help us feel less alone, more visible, and more connected to our lives.

Ten Things to Know About People with INDIVIDUALIZATION

1. Listeners. They are generally good listeners—deep listeners—who pay attention in conversation, not for their chance to speak, but rather for their chance to connect and understand.

2. Gifts. Although they might not necessarily give more gifts than the average person, folks with Individualization generally have a reputation for giving great gifts, near-perfect gifts, gifts that make others say, “How did you know?”

3. Questions. They are among the best question askers on the globe.  It’s like playing Marco Polo for them.  With each question they ask they get closer to identifying a person’s unique strength, gift, or story.

4. Switching Gears. They can shift between communication styles with remarkable fluidity.  In a social situation, it is no problem for them to authentically dial up and down between introverts and extroverts, or connect with carefree people and then serious-minded ones.

5. Chameleons. For them, it’s not just about figuring out the uniqueness of others, it’s about understanding it and, on some level, embracing it.  They are not afraid to ‘try on’ new ideas in order to truly see eye-to-eye with someone else.

6. Tunnel Vision. They, at times, can be so focused on what makes others unique that they can miss the big picture.

7. Whisperers. They are often able to motivate or make a connection with someone when no one else can, like a horse whisperer. People with Individualization can often find their way in to the private worlds of others.

8. Falseness. They are willing to go to great lengths to know—really truly know­­—others.  This includes stepping outside of their comfort zone and taking risks, socially, mentally, and emotionally.  For this reason, they detest falseness.  For them, what is the point of making the effort to know something that isn’t even real?

9. Stories. They seem to really love hearing stories from people’s lives and they will often re-tell them as a way of celebrating the personal greatness of that other person.  They may be in awe at the thought of how many people there are in the world, each one with a complete story.

10. Love. For people with Individualization, it goes both ways.  That is, they want to be known deeply, too.  They like to be loved, seen, and honored for what sets them apart from the norm and to know that they are not interchangeable with anyone else.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

Why Activators Are So Awesome


What Is the ACTIVATOR Theme

Activators are the high-energy, high-output people in our lives who love to hit the go button and make things happen.  They are outwardly action-oriented in their approach to life and they often live in perpetual motion, mainly preferring it that way.  Their style is one of “fire, fire, aim”.  This doesn’t make them reckless, instead it makes them fearless (or, better, it makes them, simply, fear less).  Being naturally confident in their abilities to deliver and to sort out messes, Activators embody a vision that says, “Let’s dive in, we’ll figure it all out along the way!”  And, they are champions of the learn-as-you-grow mentality—they own their mistakes, look for the lesson, and dive back in.  They would rather learn in the field—and get bumped and bruised—than learn in a chair and get bored.  For them, the value, meaning, and enjoyment of life is in the doing—not in the theorizing, scheduling, and planning.  With this perspective comes a certain level of everlasting impatience, which serves as a sort of fuel for them; restlessness seems to sharpen their radar, intensify their focus, and drive them toward their next goal, pursuit, or achievement.  It boils down to this: It’s not what you say, it’s what you do that counts.  They are wayseers and trailblazers, they create paths for the world and for the future to follow.

Why Should We Care

They are self-reliant, self-starting, high-achieving people who know intuitively how to get things moving.  Action is everything to them and they encourage us to shake things up and put the gears in motion.  For an Activator, a shaky launch is unquestionably better than no start at all.  In that, they sow seeds of wisdom, reminding us that if we wait until we know everything, or if we wait for everything to “feel” right before beginning something, we will never get anything done.  Life, for them, is about total immersion—and the best way to learn things is to do them.  In fact, they might say that the best way to do things is to do them!  Importantly, their enthusiasm to translate thought into action is, itself, an evolved form of optimism and possibly altruism; the spirit of which is this: do more, fail fast, it’s all okay, because it’s only a mistake until you learn the lesson. In that way, Activators are eternally and effortlessly inspiring.

Ten Things to Know About People with ACTIVATOR

1. Leadership. Activators are born leaders.  Where some people in the world are all talk and no action, Activators may very well be all action and no talk.  This can leave people wondering what is going on!  For this reason, Activators appreciate followers and, in some ways, require others to trust them and, from time to time, to go along for the ride.

2. Forgetful. They can be so motion-focused that they completely lose track of the details.  What feels like an important conversation to someone might be instantly forgotten by an Activator.  For this reason, many Activators rely on technology, digital reminders, post-it notes, and those around them for structure, reminders, and the nitty-gritty.  They seem to like “set-it-and-forget-it” scenarios.

3. It Isn’t Personal. It may feel like an Activator is leaving others in the dust, and, perhaps, they are.  It is not personal, however, and they do it in the spirit of carpe diem.  They just love to say: Let’s go.  In fact, they might actually take it personally—or, at least, be confused by the fact—that everyone in the world is not as high-octane as they are.

4. Impatient. When it comes to communicating with Activators, especially about professional matters, we are wise to lead with the point of the message.  They like it when others cut to the chase—they value it—and are not fans of chit-chat, preambles, and overtures.

5. Balance. They may struggle with the idea of balance.  And, in a culture where both balance and extremes are glorified, they might feel pulled in several directions to simultaneously speed up and slow down.  They are wise to lean unaplogetically into their energy, it is consistently life-giving to them.

6. Traffic. It is likely that they would rather drive 30 mins out of their way in order to avoid having to sit in traffic for 30 mins.  This scenario works metaphorically in many areas of their lives.  In a nutshell: They would rather be bothered by doing something than by doing nothing.

7. Presence. Many Activators have been criticized for being “all over the place” and, over time, they may try to tone it down or even hide it all together. Scaling it back can be physically painful for them.  Being in the present moment, for them, is not necessarily about laser focus; instead, their presence might be characterized as a wide-sweeping awareness—a wide radar with everything on it all at once.

8. Zen. There may be something paradoxical about the ways that Activators relax, as, they mostly relax by doing things.  In fact, they may find their greatest zen moments through rigorous exercise, extreme activities, or repetitive movements.  They are also mighty multi-taskers who may need to flip through a magazine while they watch TV, sort their Inbox or organize a junk drawer while on a conference call, or balance their bank accounts while they wait in line.

9. Burn out. Activators may be notorious for running themselves into the ground over and over again.  Don’t be surprised if you can see it coming before they can.

10. Love. For Activators love is likely an action word.  In relationships, they will follow a don’t-tell-me-show-me approach.  Sure, they may be gracious receivers of kind words and odes, but it’s really not what fires them up—they like to see it.  For them, connection is found through action: creating experiences, making memories, and/or doing something brand new.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.