Starters & Finishers – Part 2: Can You Be Both?

Starters & Finishers - Part 2: Can You Be Both? by Mark Bullock

{4:20 minutes to read} Everybody’s a starter and everybody’s a finisher. As I mentioned in Starters & Finishers – Part 1: Which Are You? we can all start and we can all finish. How close you are to the center line determines how easy it is to do one or the other.

There are a few people that are fairly close to the center line. I’m not an extreme starter myself; although I’m certainly aware of many who are. The more extreme of a starter or finisher you are, the more difficult it is to meet the task at the other end of the spectrum.

For example, you’ll see a lot of people in accounting, bookkeeping, and finance who are finishers. For them, the devil is in the details, and they want completeness & accuracy in numbers. They follow systems and protocols, tax filing deadlines, etc. They can be sticklers in those tasks whereas a strong starter just isn’t as concerned with the details.

Another thing that starters can find challenging is maintaining focus on complex tasks. Sometimes we’ll have a great idea, and we don’t automatically consider the logistics and challenges which must be met to implement that idea. In contrast, that’s usually the first place finishers go. They’re looking at what structures need to be put into place and what details must be considered. It’s very valuable to have starters and finishers working together on projects because one compliments the other.

Finding the Balance

As business owners, we all have to do both:

  • Starters can be challenged by facing the myriad of details that need to be completed, without a finisher.

  • Finishers don’t like starting something new until they’ve completed prior tasks or projects.  

What Can You Do?

First, learn to recognize your own propensities. Then recognize the propensities of those on your team. Don’t put people in roles and/or set expectations of them that don’t fit their propensities. Bookkeeping, office management, and administration, etc. are roles that require considerable attention to detail; a bunch of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s; and the need for systems & process. It’s really best to have finishers in those types of roles.

At, our administrative team is exclusively finishers. The more creative types  – writers, editors, etc. – tend to be starters. That doesn’t mean there aren’t creative finishers – there certainly are – or that all starters are creative. But knowing your own, as well as your team’s propensities, allows you to better allocate tasks & roles for the best fit.

Whether a starter or finisher, it is easier to identify with others of the same propensity. As the years have gone by, Vik and I have gotten more in tune with this concept. Although we are both starters, we have grown an appreciation for finishers. We certainly understand and can identify with our starters on the team and appreciate their work. At the same token, when it comes down to building systems & processes, and handling complex administrative projects, etc., we know now that’s best handled by people that have the propensity to do that that sort of work – finishers.

It takes both – starters and finishers – to have a complete & well-rounded team.

Are you a strong starter, a strong finisher, or somewhere closer to the center? Why do you think so?

How can you use this knowledge to boost your own productivity, and that of your team?

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Mark Bullock
Telephone: (631) 754-0800



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2 Responses to Starters & Finishers – Part 2: Can You Be Both?

  • avatar
    Daniel Burns says:

    I could not agree more. I have come to realize over the years that I like to come up with new ideas and ways to run my business and am often too quick to make changes. On the other hand my assistant, who is a finisher, helps keep me in check and is always ready to weigh in on my ideas. The challenge for a starter is to take it slow before changing things while the challenge for a finisher is to avoid being too much of a naysayer to every new idea. Those businesses who have both, and who recognize their strengths, will be the most successful.

  • avatar
    Coach Mindy says:

    Excellent articles! I am both a starter and a finisher because I have some of each in me. I’ve always said that I have “both sides of my brain working”… the creative side and the more analytical/business side. And I feel blessed that I have both because I’m able to see both sides. But I’m sure that if I took a test that delved deeper into each component, I’d find out which side was stronger that would allow me to work on the weaker side.

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