Note to my readers: After this Artistry at Work installment, I’ll be spinning the series off to its own site, complete with its own social platform. When things take on a life of their own, you need to give them the room to breathe! I’ll post all links when everything is up and running.

In my last Artistry at Work post, I introduced the four intellects derived from 2500 years of psychological study: Playmakers, Thoughtstarters, Taskmasters, and Peacekeepers. Let’s start with the Playmakers.


Playmakers have the tactical talents of executing and implementing that keep us all more responsive and dynamic. Flexible and spontaneous, they’re all about technique, speed and results. They seem to be driven by a natural need for action and impact, and are at their best when they’re in the moment, moving and making things happen.

The need for immediate results is what drives the Playmaker to action, seeking to fully engage their abilities and looking for opportunities to advance quickly to the endgame. In general, Playmakers are the first to sign up for the excellent adventure.

At the team level, the Playmaker’s flexibility in the heat of action makes them very adaptable and open to change; they can be counted on to go with the flow. Beyond making the play, play itself figures centrally in the gifts of the Playmaker, who tend to view their current endeavor, and indeed life, as a sporting event or performance effort. Ruining a Playmaker’s day is anything that impinges on freedom, variety, and spontaneity – like interminable meetings. Too, they have little time for esoteric concepts and grand theories.

Conversely, the Playmaker’s power zone rests in any activity in which techniques, aesthetics, and execution figure centrally, allowing them to employ the impulse and instinct they trust so heavily in pursuit of a clear objective.

The Playmakers’ broad themes of natural talent derive from the kinesthetic, spatial and musical aptitudes, and run along the lines of:

  1. StrivingAggressively pursuing goals and objectives; constantly seeking results and outcomes
  2. ImplementingExecuting strategies; initiating and setting plans in motions; acting as catalyst
  3. Persuading: Influencing others; proposing and promoting ideas; winning others over to achieve desired end
  4. Adapting: Taking new situations and change in stride; remaining flexible and “going with the flow”
  5. Competing: Making the right moves to better current position; performing and fully engaging in “the game”
  6. Expediting: Processing and handling transactions in a most effective manner; quick and efficient multi-tasking
  7. Stylizing: Managing aesthetics; rendering custom variations on a theme; creating a distinctive image
  8. Responding: Reacting with quick action; reading situations and seeing immediate solutions; managing crisis
  9. Exploring: Boldly expanding boundaries; creating excitement and adventure in a drive for action
  10. Operating: Working with equipment, tools and materials; fabricating, crafting and assembling

Keeping in mind that we all have some Playmaker in us, are you a natural born Playmaker?

Try this: print the list above. Put a checkmark on each talent area that comes easily to you. Then put a checkmark on each one that you truly enjoy. Put a third checkmark on each one at which you demonstrate excellence.

If the majority of themes have all three checkmarks, consider yourself a Playmaker.