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This is the fourth of an 8-part series exploring how to be a People Catalysts.  In the series we focus on “ME”, or on your individual core nature; “WE” being two people with different strengths interacting; “US” which is a team working together; and “ALL” which is how to work as an entire organization.

This episode focuses on being a Maker: what your strengths are, what is your peak work, what motivates you, and what work you need to stay away from.

Listen to the podcast here:


Karla Nelson:  Welcome to The People Catalyst Podcast, Allen Fahden.

Allen Fahden:  Hello Karla.

Karla Nelson:  Hello, hello. How are you today, kind sir?

Allen Fahden:  A beautiful day, and it’s a beautiful day for a podcast.

Karla Nelson:  Yay, it’s always a good day for a podcast, huh? Well, I don’t know. Most days.

Allen Fahden:  Most days. We’re here to create audio sunshine.

Karla Nelson:  Yay. Yes.

Allen Fahden:  Yay.

Karla Nelson:  And finish out … This is an eight part series. This is part four of an eight part series called Me, We, Us and All. What we’ve done is I am interviewing Allen in this first version of Me, which is what is your natural tendency and strength when it’s focused on work? We’ve got our Mover, Shaker, Prover. What we’re going to talk about today, Maker, and then we have We, which is myself and another individual, and what are the dynamics in working on a project. Us, as far as a group of individuals that are working together in all in entire organization.

So welcome to the fourth part of an eight part series: Me, We, Us and All. Are you ready to go?

Allen Fahden:  I’m ready.

Karla Nelson:  Woo hoo, okay, and this is a real interesting one because of course Allen is a Shaker. I am a Mover, and went over the Prover, and this the Maker. This individual is typically the most misunderstood of the four primary strengths and natural tendencies. So I will be interviewing Allen as if he is a Maker.

Allen, as a Maker, what parts of the work will bring out your magnificence?

Allen Fahden:  First of all, I need at least an Oscar nomination for this, because this is so far out of my strength zone.

Karla Nelson:  It’s actually out of both of yours.

Allen Fahden:  Really. Really.

Karla Nelson:  Seriously. A Prover understands a Maker a lot better than a Shaker or a Mover, for sure.

Allen Fahden:  Yes. Fortunately, we have 25 years of study on this to help us out. A Maker is a person who’s a later adopter, and how’s also a Doer. That means a Maker’s a person who loves the detail, loves to dot the I’s, cross the T’s and make sure that everything is in perfect order. A Maker is a person for whom the phrase, “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place,” was coined originally.

So, a Maker is a great person to finish whatever you’re doing. A Maker can make the difference between finishing something so well that it becomes profitable. Not just revenue, but profit. So that’s one reason that the Maker’s extremely, extremely important. The kind of work that energizes a Maker is doing things like running the routine, making sure that things go smoothly, making sure that the system is free from interruptions.

They’re the best replicators of all time. They can just do the same thing over and over again, and actually be energized from it and not bore them and defeated like many other people.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, well and it’s hilarious. You actually jumped ahead in our answering question six. There’s a Shaker trying to-

Allen Fahden:  A Maker never would have done that. A Maker would-

Karla Nelson:  A Maker never would have done that. I always like to say for a Maker, what brings out their magnificence, is eating checklists for breakfast.

Allen Fahden:  Oh yeah, good one.

Karla Nelson:  They like to cross things off their list. In part, a Mover does too, but it’s not the same things, and a Mover gets super bored whereas a Maker, like you were saying, their magnificence is in the repetition and being comfortable in that repetition.

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  It’s a really, really great part of what they bring to the table, and often not rewarded, even though again we need everyone. We just don’t need you all at the same time.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right.

Karla Nelson:  But it’s critical because big ideas can’t get done unless there’s somebody willing to be repetitious, and finish things up.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. The world has changed so much that it used to be that, “Oh, that’s the clerical work. That’s not important. That’s a low paid thing,” and people would given that work, “You pay your dues,” when they first start out. Then they’d work their way into other parts of the business. So this kind of work was not valued well. People are realizing now that it’s extremely valuable work. To have somebody to do it without continually complaining and want to do something else, or not being able to focus, it makes a big difference.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative), you got it, especially with technology.

Allen Fahden:  Oh yeah.

Karla Nelson:  After you have a strategy, it is repetition. It’s applied to everything. So, Allen, as a Maker, what should you say “Yes” to?

Allen Fahden:  Oh boy, anything that is step-by-step and in small steps. Anything that requires precision. For example, writing code. Now there’s a lot of things that happen before you write code, but it’s a Maker who can be very, very elegant in actually setting down the code that needs to make the whole thing work. So there’s that.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, and I love how you say that because a lot of engineers and computer science individuals are Provers or Makers, but what you said, it’s not the strategy of how the code’s going to be written, the actual code.

Allen Fahden:  The actual code. The laborious parts that happen at the end. On accounting, it’s the bookkeeping end of things, making sure all the entries are precise and correct, and there aren’t errors in it. Imagine somebody who flies 50 feet below the radar. Movers and Shakers are like at 35,000 feet and there’s not much detail on the ground there at that altitude, and it’s great for seeing the big picture, but not good at all for seeing the detail, whereas a Maker flies at let’s say 50-100 feet above the ground where you can see everything. And they do see everything.

It’s another great to do with a Maker is to bring them into the last parts of an idea and say, “Okay, tell me what can go wrong as far as being disruptive to the status quo, being disruptive to the system.” They can say things like, “Oh we’ve never used the loading dock for that before. We’ve only shipped things out. We’ve never taken anything in. Where are we going to put it? How are we going to account for it?”

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative), and there’s a huge differentiator between the Prover and the Maker, because the Prover can still strategically be looking at that 5000 foot view, where the Maker typically needs a little bit more input on the specifics about that, because they’re always going to look at something being disruptive.

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely. In fact, I worked with a bookkeeper at one time, who loved her work and hated her work. It turns out, what she loved was balancing checkbooks, and what she hated was actually writing the checks. But she felt like she had to the write the checks before. Well, if you take that work, that is Maker work, writing the checks. So what she did was hired a Maker to write all of her checks, and then once the checks were written she could balance the checking account, and she was very happy with that.

Karla Nelson:  That’s funny, yeah. Sometimes we think the work all needs to … that we can’t separate other parts of the work to have somebody else do other parts of the work.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, divide and conquer. That’s our theme.

Karla Nelson:  There you go.

Allen Fahden:  Divide and conquer.

Karla Nelson:  Divide into fours and remember, don’t ask the Maker to come into the meeting until you’ve figured it out because they don’t want to be there. They’ve got checklists to eat.

Allen Fahden:  It’s amazing that the high percentage, this is all anecdotal, but probably 95% of Makers don’t want to even be in the meeting if you’re discussing changing something.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative), yep. Well because they’re late adopters, so the laggers, those that won’t have or buy a Tesla until there’s no more gas stations.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. Even the thought of it is painful.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, exactly.

Allen Fahden:  You and I, we revel in a good idea. “Oh, that’s great. Oh, that’s so much fun.” And to a Maker it’s like, “Oh please. I don’t even want to hear about it.”

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. As a Maker then, Allen, what should you say “No” to?

Allen Fahden:  Anything that involves ambiguity, change, problem solving-

Karla Nelson:  Strategy.

Allen Fahden:  Oh yeah, strategy.

Karla Nelson:  Because there is no answer yet, right?

Allen Fahden:  Right.

Karla Nelson:  For them, it’s-

Allen Fahden:  Uncertainty.

Karla Nelson:  Uncertainty.

Allen Fahden:  I think it involves uncertainty. You know, if want a blanket word for that. Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, and so anything … I think this happens frequently, is Provers and Makers are still very extremely different. However, their natural tendency is that it’s disruptive. So they kind of get put into a bucket a little bit more together, because they are both later adopters. But, saying “No” to anything on the early side of it, and this is the last person you want testing some new innovation, because there’s going to be so much wrong with it, the fact that they don’t want to use it until there is a checklist associated with it, and all the bugs have been figured out so that they can have a process.

It’s not a process like a strategic process, it’s a step-by-step, one, two, three, four, five, six.

Allen Fahden:  It’s all implementation.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative), there you go. That’s a good one, implementation.

Allen Fahden:  The difference between a Prover and a Maker is that a Prover is a thinker. A Maker is a Doer. They’re both late adopters. The Prover wants to make the rules. The Maker wants to obey the rules, and that is very, very different. In other words, if you’re communicating with a Maker and you don’t have the rules set, the rules of the game, then they’ll keep saying, “I’m not clear on this. Can you explain it to me some more.”

So when you’re working with a Maker, give them more detail. Tell them what the rules are.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes. And so Allen, as a Maker, who is your natural inbox?

Allen Fahden:  There’s only one. That’s the Prover. The reason for that is that anything that comes from the Prover … if I’m a Maker, a Prover is somebody that I can trust. We’re both late adopters. I know that they’re not going let anything too crazy happen. So I trust that. Whereas, I don’t necessarily trust the Mover because the Mover is going to want to get things done really fast, and I am uncomfortable with that. No, go ahead.

Karla Nelson:  There is a good differentiator there, because they are both Doers, but Movers drive Makers crazy because they want it done fast and they’re okay with changing the strategy at a whim if there is a better idea.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, just as I’m a Maker, I just the rules set down, and all of a sudden they’re making new rules or they’re interpreting new rules and it’s like, “What? What?”

Karla Nelson:  I love my Makers, but I drive them crazy. I know that for sure.

Allen Fahden:  And then Shakers are not good for my inbox because they’re from another planet and I don’t have any idea what they’re talking about.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative), because they’re so far out in left field compared to a Maker, right? The Shakers.

Allen Fahden:  They’re nuts. They’re just crazy.

Karla Nelson:  The Shiny Object Syndrome. As a Maker, Allen, who is your natural outbox?

Allen Fahden:  This is a little bit of a tricky one because my natural outbox is probably the Mover. Since I’m a Finisher, the outbox might say I’m the last. But what you might say is my outbox is the market, or my outbox is the User, the people for whom it’s intended. Internally, my outbox is probably a Mover who might see that something is kind of going awry here, like, “What’s happening here? We need a-” the Mover might be a great one to initiate change, initiate a project.

For example, what’s happened, all of a sudden we’re getting really bad feedback on our call center. Let’s investigate and find out what it is. So, I may go look at the work of the Maker and see what’s going on.

Karla Nelson:  You know what’s interesting about what you just said, I kind of just had a little bit of an epiphany about being a Mover. A Mover appreciates all four strengths, and almost always could be a part of an outbox.

Allen Fahden:  Oh yeah.

Karla Nelson:  They love to facilitate the process. I know we have our infographic on the inbox and outbox, however, there is a unique appreciation I think that Movers naturally have, in that they can see. They don’t really get into the specifics of the frustration because they’re a Doer and because they’re an any early adopter, their focus is to get it done, not necessarily get caught up on any of the pieces that happen as something is getting done.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah.

Karla Nelson:  So that’s interesting when you’re asked, “Who’s your natural outbox?” to a Maker because that’s the first time I’ve actually thought how because the Mover is kind of alongside as it’s getting facilitated, they just naturally take that information and make sure it gets to the next spot. So, something else can happen with it.

Allen Fahden:  Now I want to add one thing to that. Another way to interpret the outbox, and I think this is important as well, is when your work is ready and you need to show it to somebody, who do you show it to so that you can be most comfortable showing it to that person and know that you’re not going to get negative results or pushback. That, would be the Prover.

It’s the Prover who can understand and appreciate the Maker’s work best. Let’s say I’m a Maker and I’m doing … call it an installation. I’m taking a lot of the work of a team and I’m putting it into practice, and now I’m halfway there and I need to make some decisions and I’m not ready to make them. Who do I go to? I go to the Prover. Why? The Prover gets me. They’re going to give me a response. They’re going to listen to me. They’re as patient as I am, whereas the Mover and the Shaker, they are not very patient.

Karla Nelson:  At all. I have to be very careful with my Maker counterparts. I love them to death. I love working with them, and actually I get a lot done, especially when I work on a project and have a really big maker on it, but it was prior to … and I know I’ve expressed this story before. I felt so bad, but prior to understanding our methodology, I had an assistant for six or seven years and she was incredible at getting things done. Big, big time Maker, right?

She showed up for six, seven years and never had a unique thing to say at any week, at any time. It was like, “How is this possible?” It’s just foreign. It’s not that it’s good, bad, right or wrong. One day I was so curious, I had to ask her, “How in the heck can you come to a weekly meeting for six years and never have anything to say?” I didn’t even mean it in a negative way. I was just so curious because obviously if anyone’s ever been in a meeting with me, that would never happen. How can you not speak in a meeting? Oh, it’s not going to happen.

Understanding why somebody responds that way, but the best assistant ever, I mean seriously, incredible at execution. I think understanding Makers is really critical, like you were saying Allen, because they are the most misunderstood, but then also on top of being misunderstood, I think they get less appreciated because-

Allen Fahden:  Underrated.

Karla Nelson:  Underrated, there’s a good one. Because there’s more value being put on the bigger picture, like the starting of things, the idea aspect. People think just because you have an idea, like you own it. But guess what? Just like we say all the time, I’ll take a mediocre idea over a great idea any day, that gets done.

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  And that’s the people happens. It’s got to do get done. So there is the crux of stifling any implementation. It’s one thing to have a great idea, another thing to pick the best idea, and even to say what’s going to go wrong. But if you never get to the point of implementation, it doesn’t really matter.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. One of the things I’ve heard that really resonated with me the most in terms of this, is the idea that to have a business, especially if it’s a startup, or if you’re looking at your own business, what you need is a replicable pattern in which you can make money. Cash flow is everything. Well, think of that word replicable. If you don’t have a Maker or Makers, your pattern’s never going to get replicable. It’s going to be starting over again, and again, and again, and again and you’ll never get there.

Karla Nelson:  And, the Maker’s a Doer, just like the Mover, but if you try to put a Mover into that space for too long, it’s so weak work that they won’t keep up. And, you’re not using them for their highest and best use, whereas a Mover or a Maker enjoys doing that repetition every single day.

Allen Fahden:  Yep, absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  You already answered this next question, Allen.

Allen Fahden:  Of course. Because I can’t stick to any schedule .

Karla Nelson:  What phase of the work do you excel at, and what you leaves you energized as a Maker? So just rewind the podcast to two minutes into it, because you jumped ahead there. Now, the next question Allen, as a Maker, what phase of the work drains you?

Allen Fahden:  I think of the Maker as that natural finisher. If I’m a Maker, what drains me is anything that involves starting, whether it’s starting a project, starting a business. Don’t invite me to a brainstorming session. I really don’t want to be there. It’s painful.

Karla Nelson:  I heard you say “a training”. How many times, Allen, have we been training and as soon as you say who just doesn’t want to be in the meeting, it’s the Makers. They literally self-identify with how painful it is to be in there learning something new. Often, we’ll just excuse them to go back to their desks because they shouldn’t even be in there. It’s not only painful, it’s useless. They could be eating their checklists for breakfast.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, now if we’d be doing a training which is getting the most out of our database or something like that, that would be a different story because people love training on the kind of the work they love to do. It’s particular to the training we are, which is much more about starting things. So anything that involves starting is painful because they can see the part of it that’s going to disrupt the real work that they get energy and pleasure out of doing, and they think it’ll be bad for the organization too, disrupting things like that.

Karla Nelson:  And, although they like to eat their checklists for breakfast, after their checklist is created they don’t wan to put anything else on that checklist.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. That’s right. One of the things-

Karla Nelson:  “I just got everything cleaned up around here. Geez Louise,” right? “You’re going to come in and disrupt it. I just got my checklist. It’s perfect.”

Allen Fahden:  I want dry cereal every morning and nothing else.

Karla Nelson:  Allen, as a Maker, what can you do to ensure you don’t take on weak work?

Allen Fahden:  Again, it’s the stage of the work. I mean we’re talking about somebody that says, “Help me organize this. Help me do that.” That’s strong work. If it’s anything that is not about the details and getting something into order, and making it replicable, then it’s weak work. What does that mean? I’m a Maker. Don’t invite me to a brainstorming meeting. I’m a Maker. Don’t invite me to ponder about how you’re going to disrupt your industry for the next 18 months.

Don’t invite me to a debate between Provers and Shakers, you shouldn’t have those anyway, about whether an idea will work or not work. Anything that deals with ideas, and ideas are simply let’s say processes that have not yet been manifested, so don’t invite me to anything that deals with an unsettled idea. What I want is something that’s been thought through completely and is ready for results-

Karla Nelson:  There needs to be a structure.

Allen Fahden:  Ready to implement into the system. Yep, “structure” is a great word on that.

Karla Nelson:  Structure. Yeah, and then if there’s no structure, you don’t want to create the structure as a Maker. You want the structure created-

Allen Fahden:  That’s right.

Karla Nelson:  So you can look at it and go, “Hm, how could we do this in the best way possible?”

Allen Fahden:  Yep, yeah great one.

Karla Nelson:  Awesome. All right, well we’re just wrapping up our fourth session of eight, of Me, We, Us and All. We just covered the Maker. Any last words you have, Mr. Fahden, to our listeners?

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, just one. If you know a Maker, you can do some great swapping with them. I knew a Maker who I knew was good at the details, and I asked him to do my expense report. He laughed. He says, “Why should I?” I said, “Well, how long does it take you to do your expense report?” He says, “I don’t know, 10-15 minutes.” I said, “Well it takes me four hours, and I get it back from accounting five times. If you do my expense report, we’ve saved the company three hours and 45 minutes.” That’s a big value that they can put to work in other areas. That’s worth a lot of money.

Karla Nelson:  Absolutely.

Allen Fahden:  He laughs again and he says, “Yeah, but what’s in it for me?” I said, “What do you do?” He says, “Oh, I do the trade shows. I’m the advance person. I go set up the booths.” I said, “Well, does anything ever go wrong?” He says, “Yeah.” I said, “Well what do you do?” He says, “Pretty much I go into a fetal position and hope that it will correct itself somehow.” I said, “Well does that work for you?” He says, “No.”

I said, “Well how about this, I’ll take that 15 minutes you take doing my expense report, and you’ll have it in the bank. So next time something goes wrong, you call me and I’ll give you 10 solutions in five minutes so that you can get out of this problem.” He said, “Okay.”

Karla Nelson:  I love it. I love it. Awesome.

Allen Fahden:  He did my expense report. Done. It took only 15 minutes. I went to the CEO who I was reporting to at the time. I said, “You’ve got another three hours and 45 minutes of my time. Give me another project, and it won’t cost you anything.” He loved that. Two weeks later I get a call from the Maker, and he says, “Pay back time.” It turns out he’s at a trade show in Miami and the booth is not only not there, it’s not coming. So he’s got 10×20 feet of bare concrete.

Karla Nelson:  Oh, that would put a Maker into fetal position.

Allen Fahden:  Oh, he was terrified. I asked him, and he did have the computer and the Internet hookup, and he could demonstrate the product. So I said, “Fine. Are you near a beach?” He says, “Hey, it’s Miami, isn’t it?” And so I told him to drive to the beach. On his way, go to the drug store and pick up some lawn bags. Stuff them all with driftwood, palm leaves, artifacts of the beach. Stuff the rest of them with sand. Bring it back and spread out the sand in the 10×20 feet, put all the artifacts of the beach down and with his finger in front of the computer after sets it up on the sand, write the name of the company and then, “So simple, it’s like a day at the beach.”

Karla Nelson:  Wow.

Allen Fahden:  So this took me less than five minutes to think of. He implemented it. He had two hours until the trade show started with nothing. He was back in an hour, and he was ready to go.

Karla Nelson:  And everyone loved it.

Allen Fahden:  By ever metric, it was the best trade show they ever had because it was so different. The other thing is, it’s cluttered at a trade show and they’re all trying to grab you and everything, and here was kind of an oasis that people could come to. So they just liked standing there by the booth.

Karla Nelson:  Oh, I love it.

Allen Fahden:  They got actual measurable dollar results far above anything they had done. The point is the company now had an extra X number of hours of his time that he didn’t use worrying about, and doing it wrong, trying to fix the problem at the booth.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, and it’s exponential. That’s the crazy part about people doing the part of the work that they’re best at. It’s not just in saving those hours, it’s applying them to everything else that they can do-

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  How exponential that is. That’s why 300%, if I could make you 300-800% more effective, it’s an exponential number.

Allen Fahden:  Think about this, those of you who are working somebody and saying, “Oh, my boss would never let me do that,” well maybe they wouldn’t, but think about this, there’s a very, very thin line between you having somebody do you expense report, and somebody help you with your expense report. It very much looks like the same thing. For example, when he did my expense reports, I just gave him my itinerary and my receipts. I said, “Here, you do it.”

So I might have said, “Hey, can you help me with this.” He says, “Well yeah, let me at least get this organized for you and there you go. I just scribbled it out, and you can type it in.” Well, you still, instead of saving me three hours and 45 minutes, maybe you saved me three hours and 40 minutes by helping me with it. So please don’t use the dodge that, “Oh, my boss won’t let me do it.” We all are allowed to get somebody’s help with something, aren’t we?

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah I love it. All right, so here we conclude episode four, The Maker. Thanks so much for joining us today, Allen.

Allen Fahden:  Yes, I’ll see you on the Red Carpet when I get my Oscar. And yours too.

Karla Nelson:  All right, woo hoo, see you there buddy.

Allen Fahden:  Take care.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative).

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