Bill Gross, founder of the renowned Idealab incubator, believes that the best senior management teams are made up of four distinct personality types: (E) Entrepreneur, (P) Producer, (A) Administrator, and (I) Integrator.

In Gross’s view, the perfect balance of E, P, A, and I depends on what stage the company is in. Startups, naturally, need more E energy than anything else, whereas later-stage enterprises require more Ps. Mature companies, which tend to be more bureaucratic, benefit from greater doses of A. At the largest companies, having an I is crucial, because increased staff and customer demands will invariably lead to internal tensions and departmental conflicts.

To find out which personality type you (and your executive team members) are--and if the mix of E, P, A, and I on your management team is correct--Gross proposes this simple “window” test.

The Window Test

Imagine that your management team is together in a room, staring out the same window. The window is dirty, but through it everyone can see an empty parking lot. Which one of the following statements are you and each of your team members most likely to make?

1. “We had better clean the window.”

2. “I wonder what everyone else is thinking.”

3. “Look at the empty parking lot. We could build a building.”

4. “We could create a form that people could fill out and submit when they see something wrong with a window. Their feedback will go into a queue, and then we’ll get the problem taken care of.”


1. You’re a Producer (P). You like to make things happen, to execute plans, to take action steps toward solving problems.

2. You’re an Integrator (I). You prefer to build consensus--or at least to make sure that everyone’s perspective is shared and respected.

3. You’re an Entrepreneur (E). You envision what’s ahead. You don’t really see the actual window; you see what’s through the window.

4. You’re an Administrator (A). You seek to establish fair, effective processes for every contingency.

This article was originally published at The Build Network.