There are Three Kinds of People at Work. Which one are You?
It takes three kinds of people to get a job done.
- Thinkers connect ideas, find themes and build compelling visions.
- Planners turn visions into practical and pragmatic steps.
- Doers are the experts who turn ideas and plans into physical (or virtual) products.
Most people can get on by doing a bit of all three. But we’re only really good at one or, at most, two.
That’s not to say that you can’t master all three. You certainly can.
There’s enough research available to prove that practice beats natural ability every single time.
But it takes a conscious decision to do so.
Knowing where you are is the first step to going someplace else.
I’m not good at the doing. That’s been my life’s shortcoming.
I can do research and planning all day — and do it well.
For my junior high science project, I decided to make a functional hydro-power dam using a bicycle dynamo.
My science teacher paired me with another kid who was also a planner.
We sketched the whole thing during the summer vacations, got the supplies, and figured out how everything went together.
Beyond that, neither of us was into actually building the thing.
End of summer we went back to school with an elaborate plan. No dam.
I’ve never seen anyone as disappointed as our science teacher was that day.
Another team with a simple volcano won. Idiots.
Lesson: a mediocre execution is better than an elaborate plan.
Some tasks give you energy, and others drain you of energy — and the same tasks that drain you might do the opposite for others.
That’s what makes collaboration essential for success.
It’s not about everyone doing everything. That’s unmitigated chaos.
Or everyone doing the same thing. That’s a sweatshop.
Great things happen when people come together to do their best work.
So before you quit your current job, ask yourself these questions:
- What am I good at; thinking, planning or doing?
- Am I surrounded by thinkers, planners or doers?
- What do I need to learn to (a) become better at what I already do or (b) become better at something I’m not good at?
- Where or from whom will I learn it best?
Careers are built over years and decades.
And you want to be in an environment that enables you to continuously get better at what you do.
Without knowing where you are and where you’re headed, you might end up in the same environment with different people.
That means there’s no point in quitting your current job — where you’re a thinker surrounded by thinkers — to go work another job where you’re still a thinker surrounded by thinkers.
You need to find an environment where you complement what’s already there, not just add more of the same.
Do the difficult thing. That’s how you grow.
Originally published at https://aliyarhussain.com on July 19, 2021.