In most organizations, visionaries set strategy but nobody does the work. It may be that the organization lacks the traits of a watchmaker.
Recently, I bumped my Omega Speedmaster against a tree while on a walk. Later that evening, I noticed my mechanical watch making a grinding sound. Knowing that I was outside of my comfort zone to service the timepiece myself, I quickly started searching online for a local watchmaker. As luck would have it, two blocks from my favorite coffee shop was a renowned repair man who offered to see the watch that following day.
When I came to his studio, I was overwhelmed by the decorations. Ferrari hoods covered the walls; Porsche emblems were on die casts and figurines. The Rolex and Omega watches glistened under the cases in front of where Daniel, the watchmaker, sat. Dozens of high-end watches were on his workbench, illuminated by Rolex-signed lights.
He was the real deal.
After looking at my watch, popping the back off and tightening a screw that held the rotor in place, my watch was as good as new. The story could have ended there, but there was something more to what Daniel was doing.
He was a man as opposite of me as possible. I was engrossed in his lifestyle and collections.
We started talking and over the next hour he showed me around his studio, which was also his home.
As we walked around the small three room studio, Daniel’s collections were perfectly displayed. Around one corner from the jewelry display cases, I saw a SnapOn tool box, then another. And another. Seven SnapOn tool shelves in total, each stocked with perfectly clean tools.
To my left, there was a break between the tools and tower of repair manuals where I witnessed two Aston Martin’s on pistons, being rebuilt by Daniel.
He even walked me into his living room, outfitted with high-end MacIntosh stereos and some of the finest furniture I’ve seen in a home.
It was an antique shop mixed with a residence, all wrapped into a very unique business.
As I left the shop, with my watch ticking just as it should, I reflected on Daniel. Daniel was cut from a different cloth than I was. We were polar opposites in our natural behaviors. When I was a kid, I read books. I collected information. When he was a kid, he rebuilt cars and cameras. I think there’s something unique about Daniel, and the Daniel’s of the world, that is worth noting…
You see, when I work with entrepreneurs, they are very often visionary. Visionaries can dream up a new future. They see, in their mind's eye, what’s possible. That’s what makes them such great leaders… it’s their ability to be creative and set direction. A great leader seldom does the work themselves, but instead pulls together talented colleagues to assist in the mission.
These visionaries, these entrepreneurs… they can spend hours coming up with new solutions and new tools. Innovating strategies in their business or solving problems in their mind. The value of a visionary is in imagining what’s possible. But when it comes to doing the work, the visionary seldom gets the result.
Through my conversation with Daniel, I realized he wasn’t very visionary. His talent was tangible. His genius was in the detail of his labor, not in some sort of vision. He’s not interested in the latest-and-greatest. That’s not to say Daniel was dull; the opposite is true. Daniel knew the details of my watch movement just from eyeballing it. He told me how many moving parts my watch had, why my watch has a certain complexity… he knew more about watches and watchmaking than anyone else in the city. A true master of his trade, Daniel exists in the tangible realm. Daniel was an Implementer.
Reflecting back to a few of the companies I help, I asked myself “Who has a Daniel? Who doesn’t?” It quickly became apparent that having someone in an organization that can do the work is worth a tremendous amount to a business. One client has a marketer who is very tangible. He can take an idea I lay out and add to it a little, then execute it. He exists in the tangible world. He takes my ideas and turns them into results. Without him, I'm just an idea.
One team I spent time with last year didn’t have their own watchmaker; they didn’t have an implementor in their business. So, they ran in circles. Meetings would generate new ideas and nobody would actually do the work. The visionaries created visions, but the company was short on implementors. Their solution was to contract an implementation team in the short term, while developing an internal implementation capability in the long term.
Does your organization come up with wonderful ideas, but see them fall short of completion? It may be because you don’t have someone with a natural modality to implement.
A Functional Team™ is a team that is supported through a multitude of modalities. Two typically competing modalities are Visionary and Implementer. If you’re short on implementers, work to hire and promote the talent within your organization. If you’re a Visionary, own it and realize the synergy of having an Implementer support you.
Don’t wish you were a watchmaker, just hire one.
Image by ThomasLENNE/Shutterstock.