As I’ve worked with business and organizational leaders I’ve discovered that there are probably 4 types of business owners and leaders. First there are the technicians. These are the men and women who do all or most of the work themselves. That’s all they know to do.
Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth Revisited argues that MOST small businesses are started by technicians. I’ve come to believe that he is right. However, I’ve also discovered 3 other types that start businesses.
The second are the creatives. These are the men and women who sell new ideas or creative works. Their creative works may be in the fine arts, or they may be in the areas of technology, music, media, motivation, or ideas.
My experience has been that these creatives start some of the highest money-making businesses I’ve seen IF they don’t get caught in the trap of micro-management (i.e. technician work.)
While technicians are not typically creatives, almost all the creatives I’ve worked with are artist types who have “technician” tendencies. I call them “1 and 10” leaders. They can work on a very high, creative level (e.g. “10”) or a very low “technical” level (“1”), but have great difficulty working on levels 2-9, which are critical for implementation.
The most successful creatives I’ve known get good “operations” people around them to help them execute. And when they get the right people around them they can produce at a very high level. The most successful and dynamic leaders I’ve known are creatives.
The third and fourth types are the managers and leaders. Leaders tend to work on a more strategic level while managers tend to work on a more process and systems level. Leaders inspire and set direction. Managers manage people, processes, and systems.
With that said, most small business owners tend to be technicians who need to learn how to be managers and leaders. See my post “The 3 Levels of Work.” I’ve found this is very doable!
However, every once in a while I meet the “creative” type. They are typically the most challenging for me as a business coach to work with but always have the greatest earning potential. The most recent creative I’ve worked with started a business with a “new idea.” In just 8 short years he sold it for nearly 9 digits!
Unfortunately, I don’t think people can be taught to be creatives. I think they are born that way!