Are you someone who plans everything to the nth degree? Cautious in your approach, maybe averse to risk? You come up with good ideas, know a lot about a lot, but often find yourself not taking action?
Or do you come up with new ideas and jump in with both feet. You give it a go. After all what could possibly go wrong?
There are two types of personalities. Thinkers and jumpers.
At the extremes Thinkers go ready, aim, aim, aim, aim. But they never pull the trigger and implement.
Extreme Jumpers jump off tall buildings with both feet without a parachute thinking “I’ll find a way to break my fall on the way down.”
We all sit somewhere on the spectrum.
Let’s start with Thinkers.
Every organisation needs thinkers.
At a high level, Thinkers are the ideas people. The strategists and long term planners. They’re deep thinkers who evaluate all the pros and cons of any course of action. They worry about what could go wrong. They take a slow and steady approach which minimises risk.
But if left to their own devices, they may never implement those strategies.
Perhaps not unsurprisingly, a primary driver for a deep thinker is fear.
Fear of making a mistake. Fear of not having enough information to decide a course of action. Fear of what could go wrong. At the extreme they need everything to be perfect before they can act. Which of course is impossible.
So they do everything possible to minimise risk. Which may mean not taking any action whatsoever.
Professions like finance, legal and pure research institutions naturally attract thinkers.
Stereotypically accountants are cautious “bean counters”. They’re risk averse and check everything multiple times before committing to a course of action. Which is exactly what we want of them.
Imagine though having an organisation only made up of Thinkers.
Everyone sitting around gazing at their navels. Or constantly debating what needs to be done. Mind mapping possibilities. Looking for flaws in the arguments. Nothing would get done. No product would ever get made, nothing would be delivered.
Now before you think I’m making fun of Thinkers, I’m not. I’m one of them. But I also realise that thinking without action in business is just navel gazing.
Thinking alone won’t bring in any clients. You have to translate the thinking into action. Marketing and sales material has to be created. Sales calls must be made. Products must be delivered.
Enter the Jumper.
Jumpers jump while Thinkers think.
Jumpers are the people who say, “Let me try this. Let me take this apart and see what happens. Let’s get out there and wing it”
They don’t need safety nets. They don’t overthink problems. The solution will appear as they move forward.
Jumpers are the implementers. While they have fears like the rest of us, the fear doesn’t paralyse them. They’re willing to take risks. Hopefully calculated ones.
Every organisation needs Jumpers to get anything done.
Of course most of us are a combination of Thinker and Jumper. But what if you fall closer to one extreme?
Thinkers need trusted Jumpers in their businesses and vice versa.
Each moderates the other.
Together they can make an unstoppable force.
But what if you’re a one person band?
As a Jumper find yourself a Thinker you respect who can act as a mentor or coach. Many of you will be married to one.
And as a Thinker, start making small jumps. Rather than jumping off the 10m high board, jump into the kiddie’s pool.
Once you find that’s okay, go higher.
But the key is to jump in with both feet. This is not about dipping your toe into the water and going “ouch”.
You must take action.
Jumpers, do the opposite. Instead of staking everything on one roll of the dice, take smaller steps and live to fight another day.
Ultimately realise diversity is the key to business success. You need both types of personalities to balance each other for long term success.