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Get creators, analyzers and doers onboard with your ideas

Columnist Dave Conrad says the trick is to come up with proposals that get all three personalities excited, involved and working with each other.

Ask Dave - Dave Conrad column mug
Ask Dave - Dave Conrad column mug

Dear Dave — It happened to me again in a management meeting: I barely got a word out about an idea I had and all I heard was one of my colleagues taking the floor with his idea and getting strong recognition for his concept. I was run over hard and fast, and I did not have a chance to be heard. What happened? And what can I do to be heard? — R

What happened to you is called “politics.” Your colleague must have gained a receptive audience long before you and your comanagers even sat down at the meeting table. Some may call this unethical persuasion, but I call it being smart and putting together a group — a coalition — of supporters that will back what they hope will be a good idea.

If you unpack what took place in your meeting and carefully scrutinize the “pitcher,” the “pitch,” and the “pitched,” you will come to understand that your colleague must have had short “mini conversations/meetings” with a good portion of your fellow managers. And she or he made their idea(s) appealing, acceptable and workable. So, naturally your management colleagues went right along with the presentation and accepted the idea.

I believe that “idea presenters” must be credible, prudent and strategic, and have a history of presenting answers that worked as opposed to just throwing out ideas and then disappearing — and leaving a group of people with vague tasks and projects because things were not as understandable as they should have been. Simply, the “author” of the idea should not move on to the next big, bold idea without helping people make the previous idea actionable.

Those left “holding the idea bag” will certainly become irritated and confused, because they have nothing to work with to bring things to a successful outcome. Their pride, credibility and futures are on the line, so they often stay closed lipped about not knowing what to do and when.

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In short, they were expected to “run with the ball,” but they have no idea what the best outcomes and strategic nature of the “big idea” really are.

3 organizational personalities

I have always taught my MBA students that there are usually three strong organizational personalities in every team. There are the “Creators,” the “Analyzers,” and the “Doers.” Ideally, these personalities should work and play well with each other. And here is who they are.

Creators – Big ideas people. They always dream up grandiose ideas for advancing the business of the company and they paint bold pictures of the wonderful outcomes that they guarantee will be a result of their ideas and problem-solving measures. The problem is, these well-intentioned folks are great at describing the “big picture,” but they are lousy at assessing the environment to determine if their ideas truly fit as viable resolutions. Plus, when it is time to dig in and do the hard work, they are as scarce as hens’ teeth. That just ain’t their bag.

Analyzers – Great researchers. The Creators know that they must make friends with these hard-core investigators. These folks analyze every fact and factor and are as cautious as can be. Their usual response to ideas — and this is my belief — is to first be negative and explain why something can’t work. I am sure you know these people, because if you ask them what they think about a proposal, be prepared for the response: “My investigation will take a few months before I can tell you.” Well, you haven’t got a few months and you want to try a prototype of your idea right away. Mostly, Analyzers dislike the Creators that continuously throw untested ideas at them.

Doers — These folks are the worker bees and their credo is “Give us the work and we’ve got you covered.” God bless these people because nothing would be accomplished if you did not have them doing their work. But these folks cannot produce magic with flawed creations and grandiose and unworkable ideas. And they can only get a defined amount of work done in a day. If they get beat up with unreal expectations, their passion for completing various projects will dry up. Simply, Creators and Analyzers must make sure the Doers are in the loop and know what they are supposed to be doing.

The trick for you is to come up with proposals that get all three personalities excited, involved and working with each other. Enlist Creators by asking for their opinions and allowing them to have an innovative role in the development of your ideas. Bring Analyzers on board by asking them to research the feasibility of your ideas. And inspire the Doers by requesting their views of how your ideas can be implemented.

That’s how teams are built — and I call this persuasion.

Contact Dave Conrad with questions or comments at conradd@augsburg.edu . Conrad is an associate professor of business at Augsburg University in Rochester.

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