Sunday, February 17, 2008

Planners and Impromptus


I've noticed two broad types of performers in the workplace: Planners and Impromptus.


The Impromptus are those folks who can be thrown into practically any situation and, invigorated by the challenge and sheer anarchy, will do a good and sometimes even a great job. Their lack of planning does not bother them because they do not spend huge amounts of time worrying about "What If This?" and "What If That?" and various worst case scenarios. They are confident in their ability to cobble together a quick solution. Their emphasis is on practicality and not excellence. "Reasonably good" is just fine with them.


The Planners do care about high quality and they regard quick fixes as enormously risky. Whereas the Impromptus can be creative in devising stop-gap solutions, the Planners can be creative in spotting potential problems and, given time, in preventing them. They can also be far-sighted and more readily able to see the big picture. Not surprisingly, Planners believe in planning and they get nervous when forced to operate without a net. Bold indeed when the proper elements are in place, their courage wanes when what they regard as a minimal level of control is missing.


Knowing which camp is yours can be very helpful. Impromptus can benefit from consulting with Planners who can see the downsides of various options. Planners can equally be assisted by seeking the control or some condition close to it with which they perform best and by accepting that under certain circumstances the reasonably good so favored by the Impromptus is as good as it gets.

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