123: Three Personality Types Every Business Needs to Succeed

personality types identified by The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.
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Possessing only one or two of these personality types will leave you with an incomplete business.

Today’s episode is inspired by the book The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. If you have not read this book yet I highly recommend it. Regardless of where you are at in your career, whether you are a budding entrepreneur or a well seasoned business man or woman this book offers up a ton of great valuable reminders of who you are and who you need to be in order to give your business the best chance to succeed.

The E-myth Revisited basically describes three personalities that need to exist in every business owner. It reinforces that all three personalities are important to the success of the business.

You can’t just have one or two of the personalities and hope to succeed. You need all three. If you are not all three, then you need to work on the ones that you are not. Hiring the right people to balance everything out in your business might help, but at the very least, you need to understand all three. So what are these personalities:

Entrepreneur personality:

First is the entrepreneur. Michael Gerber describes the entrepreneur like this: “The entrepreneurial personality turns the most trivial condition into an exceptional opportunity. The entrepreneur is the visionary in all of us. The dreamer. The energy behind every human activity. The imagination that sparks the fire of the future. The catalyst for change.”

Manager personality:

The next personality is the manager. Gerber defines the manager as “Pragmatic. 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 entrepreneur craves control, the manager craves order. Where the entrepreneur thrives on change, the manager clings to status quo.

Where the entrepreneur sees the opportunity in events, the manager sees the problems.” You can see from his description of the manager that it is pretty much the opposite of what the entrepreneur is.

Technician personality:

The final personality that Michael Gerber tells us about is that of a technician. “The technician is the doer. If you want it done right, do it yourself is the technicians credo.” “As long as the technician is working, he is happy, but only one thing at a time. He knows that two things can’t get done simultaneously” he writes.

Which personality traits do you have?

How do these three personality traits fit together in order to run a successful business? Does one of these personality traits resonate with you more so than the others? For me personally, I have always been very much in the manager and technician mindset.

I like organization and processes, just as the manager does. I used to struggle with delegating. If you want it done right, do it yourself, the mindset of the technician. But these two personalities can’t survive on their own. They need something else. The entrepreneur. Someone who just sees every problem as an opportunity. The dreamer. The visionary. Always chasing the next new thing.

We all know people like this. The entrepreneur mindset always used to drive me crazy. While I was in manager and technician mode, I didn’t have time for the entrepreneur to mess up my flow. I didn’t need new ideas disrupting my fine tuned processes. I want to grab this person by the neck and tell them to focus…..at least the old me would.

Now, I envy this person. I wish I was more like this. I have entrepreneurial traits, but of the three personalities discussed in this book, this is the one I need to work on the most.

It takes a team:

If you are more of an entrepreneurial mindset naturally, that alone is not going to get it done for you. Sure you have great ideas, but what do you do next to turn these ideas into a reality? You need the manager to pay attention to all of the little details.

Details like running an office. Paying the bills. Creating processes to carry out the entrepreneurs vision. Bring stability to the entrepreneurs whims. The manager wraps up all of the entrepreneurs ideas into a neat little package, but the manager now needs someone to take the idea and follow the processes that have been set forth to actually create this “thing,” whatever it may be. This is the technicians job.

Technicians are the doers. They are good at making things. Or following processes to achieve a specific result. A mechanic. A chef. A bookkeeper. These are all examples of technicians. In the book the subject is a baker. Someone who is great at making pies, or pastries.

Over time technicians may get really good at what they do and start feeling the desire to perform their craft for themselves instead of working for someone else. Here is where the problem lies with small businesses. According to Michael Gerber, the reason that most small businesses fail is because they are run by technicians. I agree with this assessment. Again, the technicians are great at what they do, but that is not enough for the business to succeed. There are a lot of moving parts to a business and making the product or performing the tasks is just one piece of it.

You can quickly see that possessing only one or two of these personality traits will leave you with an incomplete business. Whether it be making widgets, baking pies, fixing appliances, whatever your business does. You need all three traits to close the loop to make sure you have the ideas that an entrepreneur possesses. The organization that a manager would have to keep up on all of the details. The ability to actually get your product created like the technician would do.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of the E-Myth Revisited. It is available as an audio book as well, for those who prefer to listen. The book goes into much more detail about these three personality types that every business needs, and more.

About the author, Thomas

I have 20 of years insurance industry experience in C-level management, focusing on all aspects of workers compensation, risk management, loss control, employee benefits, HR, payroll and professional employer organization (“PEO”) operations. Currently, I am the owner and CEO of Humanly HR, and founder and host of SmallBiz Brainiac; a podcast providing employer intelligence to small business owners.

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