I love to look at things along a single dimension or continuum. It seems to simplify things in my brain. This morning I was thinking about the difference between two polar work personalities; what many call today the "maker" and the "doer".

To be clear, there are many definitions each of us can draw on with respect to these labels and for the sake of this post, let's not get hung up on your definition.

The important notion today is determining which work personality you are and how not knowing this can be extremely frustrating and harmful to your career.

A "doer" is someone who when assigned a set of tasks, can go execute those tasks. They are a machine. They groove on the task list. They get great personal joy from crossing items off the list. Doers can and do find creative ways to complete tasks and to that end, have some "maker" qualities.

A "maker" is someone who bends more to the vision of where the company or division is going. In a sense they create the container from which tasks are created. The emphasis in this definition is the container and not the tasks though a great "maker" can execute tasks as well, usually from a high level.

The "maker" persona is used to identifying direction from a blank sheet of paper. The "doer" has their tasks outlined for them.

At the extreme, the "maker" can get bogged down when too many tasks arrive at their desk. At the other polar extreme, "doers" can get wrapped around their tasks so tightly as to miss the bigger vision. These nuances can be detrimental to a business.

More importantly, if you are a "doer" and think of yourself as a "maker" you have created a situation that will not end well. Startup founders sometimes miss this subtlety. Though the best founders bounce back and forth in both personalities, I do find new founders that are "doers" and fail to spend enough time in "maker" mode.

In the same vein, if you are a natural "maker" and spend all of your time in vision-mode and never actually move the needle, your vision will die on the vine.

Understanding your work personality and what you are both good at and enjoy is the first step to putting yourself in a better position. The next step if figuring out how to augment your skills with the polar opposite personality.

.

Published on: Sep 10, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.