Well it’s still early in the year and everyone is trying to put their lives back together after a busy Christmas. So as a business owner we all fumble back into work mode. We start looking at what jobs are on the go or about to start. We also start thinking about how we can get new work in the door as well as keeping existing customers happy.
In the process we look around at the resources we have to apply to those jobs. This may mean we are assessing our machinery fleet, what stock we have on hand and how time is allocated across our people which brings me to the point of today’s suggestion.
Assigning the right job
The most critical part of firing up the new year (and pretty much all year round) is understanding your people. Having an insight into their strengths and weakness and assigning work in a way that works with those human traits, not against them. We all know that assigning the wrong personality to a job can end in disaster so a few minutes of thinking time can save a lot of dramas. Types of workers
For me there are four sorts of people that operate in a workplace Hunters, Farmers, Soldiers and Nerds. All have their strengths and all make an equal contribution, though in very different functions within your business. I have attempted to describe these creatures below. I hope it makes sense and helps you consider how you deploy your team in 2019.
These folk are wonderfully dangerous. They will go out and chase new customers and nail that new business to their totem pole. They are go getters hungry for a meal and will deliver revenue in spades. Clients love them because they get things done. They motivate people around them to go forward and never mind the spills. They will throw spears harder and faster than anyone else and have a special lust for the big kills. So there’s a lot of upside. But the downside of the Hunter is their follow up. They’ll secure new business for you but they have a tendency to over promise and put real pressure on your schedule. They may like catching fish for the family but don’t ask them to fillet the fish as they’ll be already off hunting the next mammoth. Hunters are a bit like excavators. They are great at digging up lots of stuff but then they look for somewhere to dump that stuff and move onto the next kill.
Well everyone loves a farmer. Those corn pickin, slow talkin, wholesome types with whom customers are most likely to build long term relationships. They may not look as though they’re at full stretch but they are getting the work done, on time and on budget. They occasionally push back at the Hunters for showering them with requests to bend the rules to look after the next big client but they are mostly unflappable. Farmers work well in teams and can handle constructive criticism when things go wrong. They are modest and have a gentle side as they need everyone to like them. The tough part about farmers is they can lose sight of the commercial nature of their work. They are more likely to soften to a client’s extra demands for variations to a job without the corresponding increase in price. They are also more likely to refer problems on to the boss as they avoid confrontation to protect their nice guy image. Everyone needs a farmer but they need a bit of protection from Hunters and Nerds.
These folk follow orders. They may not know or even really care about what procedure they are following, who the client is or what the goal is but they do their duty. Soldiers like order. They turn up on time every time and will comply with directions to perform any job until school is out. Then, they will go home on time, every time and immediately forget about work. They see their responsibility as that described in the manual you gave them and no more. They don’t get stressed by their work as they are programmed like a robot. So soldiers are great. They don’t cause any workplace grief because they have no feelings and don’t complain. The challenge with soldiers is they struggle with anything ad hoc. If it’s not in the plan then it does not exist to a soldier. If you send them on a covert three day mission to kill 600 zombies and at smoko on day three you ask them to stop at 450 you will rattle them. They will blame you for not allowing them to complete the mission and become suspicious of your motives. Soldiers should not be confused with Hunters. Soldiers will not go out and look for trouble like a hunter will. Soldiers will just deal with the tasks you dish up for them whether it’s cleaning the latrines or invading Iraq and they will do it without any emotional discharge.
They are the computer people and should be treated with the utmost suspicion. These are the people within your business that hold the keys to the city and can destroy you with one keystroke. They will assure you that all the backup protocols are in place and the new icloud they signed you up for is hacker and bullet proof. These little creatures are the only ones in your business that really do know that you can’t do without them.
Nerds appear to take criticism really well but they’ll never modify their behaviour because they know they are smarter than you and you know, that they know, that you know they know. My only suggestion on the management of nerds is to have two of them. This is a critical safeguard for your business because when one sells all your data to the Russians at least the other one is still able to trigger the anti-missile system. Be assured, as we speak, they are creating secret dark pool empires of data and software within your computers with one constantly watching and outsmarting the other.
The benefits of being diverse
At Power2 we employ many personalities types to ensure we have the right skill sets to get the job done. We all have different personalities in our business. They are suited to different things and should be appreciated and respected for their contribution. Your people will give you their best work if their energies are directed towards area in which they naturally excel. On the flip side, if you force people to do things they hate then don’t be surprised when they fail, lose you money and resign.