Are you a starter, finisher or maintainer?

Originally posted on Feb. 25th 2016.

When I used to do corporate recruiting back in the day, one of the questions we always asked people was:

“Are you a starter, finisher or maintainer?”

I love this question and have continued to use it in my business – with team & clients. It’s important to understand this distinction for ourselves, as well as for the people we work with.

A starter likes to get the ball rolling – you are a visionary. You see the world through a lens of opportunity and how things can be changed for the better. You are passionate and driven by your ideas – nothing gives you more pleasure than a great (new) idea and the possibility it creates.

A finisher likes to get stuff done – you love to plug into someone else’s ideas and help bring them to life. You naturally see what it will take to accomplish a goal – the steps, resources and timeline – and don’t feel satisfied until measurable progress is being made.

A maintainer likes to keep the engine running – you are driven by stability – chaos, messes and surprises drive you crazy! You have an eye for detail and a heart of service, knowing that a strong foundation is what keeps the vision (ideas) alive. You are satisfied when everything is running as it should, on a daily basis, with excellence.

Which one do you identify with the most?

Could be more than one – I’m both a starter & a finisher, but I am NOT a maintainer.

I am great at coming up with big ideas – solving big problems – and I love to bring them to life. (My business is built on programs we’ve created to solve big problems – Certified Online Business Manager and CEO Business School to name our biggies)

Once the programs are created and serving where they are meant to serve, then I start to disengage. Once the creation is live my natural inclination is to move onto the next thing.

This is who I am but I fought this for YEARS! I thought that I should want to keep focused on the same thing – I created it, this is my baby, how could I possibly be ready to move on? (Or dare I say, bored!) I beat myself up because I thought something was wrong with me.

It’s only in recent years I’ve come to accept that I’m not a maintainer, and because of this I need strong maintainers on my team. Because of this I have structured my business to allow my starter/finisher nature to play while building on the success of past creations <– this took me a LONG time to figure out.

How can your team compliment your nature? If you are a starter you need strong finishers around you (our OBMs are GREAT at this). If you are a finisher you need to connect with powerful starters. If you are a maintainer you are needed to keep the success engine running!

Know yourself. Honor yourself. Let go of what isn’t true for you. That is where real success is found.

  • I am more of a finisher with a bit of a maintener.

  • Annie B

    100% a Starter! I have a million ideas and have learned to figure out which ones are worthy of pursuing. Recently, I hired a couple of VA’s to help me with implementation and it set me free to keep pursuing the vision! I am a first born so a natural delegator and manager mixed with a D/I Disc type…I like to get to the VISION because it equals what I value, which is results!
    Great article, not often talked about for sure!

  • John Hardy

    A maintainer, for sure. If something is not working correctly ( like my email program), I am not happy until it is restored, I am also a starter and finisher, but more of a maintainer.

  • GREAT post Tina. I’m more like you – a starter and a finisher (although the starter in me is much stronger. That’s why having an awesome team is critical for me.) I too beat myself up over the fact that I would disengage once a program was up, running and serving. Good to know I’m not the only one! 🙂

  • Christina

    Definitely a Starter. Which is not what may friends want me to be. They will tell me often: well, anyone can have an idea…

    • tinaforsyth

      And everything amazing thing that is created in the world starts with the idea. How could being a starter be a benefit for you in your biz/life?