Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician

In The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, Michael E. Gerber, writes about how The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician are competing personalities inside us all.

The Entrepreneur
Gerber writes about The Entrepreneur:

"The entrepreneur personality turns the most trival condition into an exceptional opportunity. The Entrepreneur is the visionary in us. The dreamer. The energy behind every human activity. The imagination that sparks the fire of the future. The catalyst for change.

The way he usually chooses is to bully harass, excoriate, flatter, cajole, scream, and finally, when all else fails, promise whatever he must to keep the project moving."
The Manager
Gerber writes about The Manager:
"The managerial personality is pragmattic. Without The Manager there would be no planning, no order, no predictability.

If the Entrepreneur lives in the future, The Manager lives in the past. Where The Enterpreneur craves control, The Manager craves order. Where The Entrepreneur thrives on change, The Manager compulsively clings to the status quo. Where The Entrepreneur invariably sees the opportunity in events, The Manager invariably sees the problems.

The Manager is the one who runs after the Entrepreneur to clean up the mess. Without The Entrepreneur there would be no mess to clean up. without The Manager, there could be no business, no society. Without The Enterpreneur, there would be no innovation.

Is is the tension between The Entrepreneur's vision and The Manager's pragmatism that creates the synthesis from which all great works are born."
The Technician
Gerber writes about The Technician:
"The Technician is the doer. "If you want it done right, do it yourself" is The Technician's credo.

The Technician loves to tinker. Things are to be taken apart and put back together again. Things aren't supposed to be dreamed about, they're supposed to be done.

If the Entrepreneur lives in the future and The Manager lives in the past, The Technician lives in the present. He loves the feel of things and the fact that things can get done.

As long as the Technician is working, he is happy, but only on one thing at a time. He knows that tow things can't get done simultaneously; only a fool would try. So he works steadily and is happiest when he is in control of the work flow.

The Technician knows that if it weren't for him, the world would be in more trouble than it already is. Nothing would get done, but lots of people would be thinking about it. Put it another way, while the Enterpreneur dreams, The Manager frets, and the Technician ruminates."
Everybody Gets in the Technician's Way
Gerber writes how everybody gets in the way of The Technician:
"Everyone gets in The Technician's way. The Entrepreneur is always throwing a monkey wrench into his day with the creation of yet another "great new idea."

On the other hand, The Entrepreneur is always creating new and interesting work for The Technician to do, thus establishing a potentially symbiotic relationship.

Unfortunately, it rately works out that way. Since most enterpreneurial ideas don't work in the real world, The Technician's usual experience is one of frustration and annoyance at being interrupted in the course of doing what needs to be done to try something new that probably doesn't need to be done at all."
The System
Gerber writes about the tension between "the person" and "the system":
"The Manager is also a problem to The Technician because hs is determined to impose order on The Technician's work, to reduce him to a part of "the system."

But being a rugged individualist, The Technician can't stand being treated that way. To The Technician, "the system" is dehumanizing, cold, antiseptic, and impersonal. It violates his individuality. Work is what a person does. And to the degree that it's not, work becomes something foreign.

To The Manager, then, The Technician becomes a problem to be managed. To The Technician, The Manager comes a mddler to be avoided. To both of them, The Entrepreneur is the one who got them into trouble in the first place."
The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician Inside Us All
Gerber writes about how we have all three inside us:
"The fact of the matter is that we all have an Entrepreneur, Manager and Technician inside us. And if they were equally balanced, we'd be describing an incredibly competent indvidual.

The Entrepreneur would be free to forge ahead into new areas of interest; The Manager would be solidifying the base of operations; and The Technician would be doing the technical work.

Each would derive satisfaction from the work he does best, serving the whole in the most productive way."

Key Take Aways
What a great way to explain the tension, whether inside us or where we work! Here's my key take aways:

  • Know the competing personalities. Sometimes knowing is half the battle. In this case, I think being able to recognize the different personalities is a big first step.
  • Balance is the key. I like how Gerber illustrates the importance of balance among the personalities. He shows how each personality fullfills an important part of the bigger picture. Leverage comes from the synegery, not the dominance. It raises the important question: are you balancing The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician inside you?

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