Are you a starter, finisher or maintainer?

Feb 10, 2017

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.


  1. Harlene Batoto

    I think I’m both Starter and Finisher, as I’m always ready for opportunities and wanted things to be done as early as possible but the quality is always there.

  2. Yaritza Baez

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. Pam Ivey

    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! :)

  6. 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?


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