Two Types of People

Two Types of People

When you hear the phrase “two kinds of people” you’re probably assuming people that are polar opposites. People who do something and people who don’t.

For this post, I want to talk about two types of people that are complementary to one another, instead of opposites. Last week I was talking with a friend about how we both work alongside people who are deep in technology and that the role that we play for those people is of “translator”.

What is a translator in this context? It is someone who can break down the advanced ideas into more understandable concepts and teach others how to use the technology in a practical way. For example, when Chris puts an analysis together, he’ll send it to me to pull out actionable insights. If I struggle to even get to the “so what” of it, we start over and refine. The goal is to take advanced machine learning analysis and figure out how to apply it in everyday marketing.

Translators and technologists aren’t the only pairs you’ll find in a business. You likely also have doers and facilitators. Generally speaking, teams will have a facilitator who is calling the shots, setting the priorities, and managing the task list. Then you’ll also have the doers, the people doing the work. This isn’t to say that someone can’t be both, or that if you are one you cannot be the other in a different context. This is a classic dynamic and it works for a reason. Everyone on the team should have a clearly defined role that allows them to focus on what they are the best at. I am not the best at marketing or data analysis, that’s Chris. However, I am good at seeing the utility of something and teaching it to others.

The reason I bring all this up is that my conversation last week got me thinking about how to set yourself up for success. Rarely, if ever, are people successful 100% on their own. They have some kind of support system. This could be a partner, an editor, an assistant, a coach, or a whole community, to name a few. Think about a solo artist or an athlete that competes in an individual sport. They are the ones doing most of the work to perfect the skill, but they are also supported by a coach, family and friends, and other peers in their space.

Chris and I could have started our own businesses and decided not to work with each other. We each would have found success on our own. What we realized, however, is that we have complementary skill sets that make what we do that much stronger. One of our goals for this year is to focus on our strengths and rely more on one another for where we are weaker. I can speak publicly, but I am not a public speaker. I have done it a handful of times but it’s not where I am needed most. Chris, on the other hand, finds his second home on the stage. It made sense for us to take me out of that space and push him into it even more. Does that mean that my role is now diminished? Absolutely not. I have a very long list of things to focus on as I grow Trust Insights.

Think about the people in your life right now. Are they all exactly like you with the exact same strengths and weaknesses? Probably not. Now think about your company, your team, your clients. Your clients hire you because you have the skills that they need. Your team functions well because everyone is good at different things. Your company thrives because there are departments focused on different parts of the business.

At our core, we tend to lean one way or the other. Are you a technologist or a translator? Are you a doer or a facilitator? Are you a coach or a team member? Neither is better, both are important.

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