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What can a day look like when you are task-focused instead of role-focusted?

The 7th of an 8-part series exploring how to be a People Catalyst.  In the series we focus on “ME”, your individual core nature; “WE”, two people with different strengths interacting; “US”, a team working together; and “ALL”, how to work as an entire organization.

This episode focuses on “All”; making something happen as an entire organization.

Listen to the podcast here:


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

Allen Fahden:  Hello, Karla.

Karla Nelson:  Hello, my friend. Wow, we are seven in to an eight-part series. In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about ALL, which is a corporation, business, a group of individuals focused on making something happen, right? Because, at the end of the day, the reason why we all get together is to make something happen, and so I will be interviewing Allen as in the entire eight-part series we’ve designed, which is asking a question and then having Allen answer.

Allen Fahden:  Which Allen loves.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. It’s been great, actually. We’ve gotten such a great … just feedback in regards to our listeners and being able to get this down to a real simple level of just, hey, this is what this is going to look like, or is this the ideal outcome and just getting it down to a very easy way for those to digest. We even have been sending along the original first four parts of the series with our assessments, which has been great because then people can listen to, hey, I’ve got the assessment and then what does that look like and what are all the pieces of your brilliance based off of your core nature and strength?

With that, we’ll go ahead and launch with the initial question, Allen. Can you describe function management versus role management?

Allen Fahden:  Yeah. This is the whole basis. We’re focusing on it with ALL on the entire organization here. This is the entire basis of putting together an organization that can work today. Michael Hammer, the author of Reengineering the Company said it best, I think, when he said, “We move into the 21st century with a 19th century organization.”

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, it’s so true.

Allen Fahden:  So how can we … we have to do all these new things, but we can’t do them. We get in each other’s ways. We stumble over each other. That’s basically function management. That’s the way it’s been for 150 years or longer.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. How did we stay there? That’s amazing to me with all the technologies and-

Allen Fahden:  Oh, yeah, and it’s people keep sophisticating the wrong process, or they haven’t come up with a good enough solution. We have a very different one. It’s basically role management. Instead of designing the … making the people change themselves to fit the work, we design the organization so that it changes the organization, changes the work to fit the core natures of the people. Instead of you having a job and you have to finish what you started and do every part of it, instead do the pieces you’re best at and then hand it off to the next person who’s good at that next part. Things go 300 to 800 percent times more quickly and better.

Karla Nelson:  Love it. One of those pieces in regards to function management versus role management is we’ve all had the dreaded “job description,” right? By the way, I just got delivered one the other day, and I laughed. Because after looking at it, because somebody was looking to hire someone and sent me an email, I looked at it and was like, “Oh, there’s a Mover. There’s a Prover. Okay, that’s a Maker.”

Literally had all four of the core natures and strengths in one job description, and it ranged from creating an event and then making sure that the toilet paper was stocked. And I’m not joking. I was like, “Are you serious?”

Allen Fahden:  It’s like, have you met anyone who can do that? Well, yeah actually-

Karla Nelson:  No, well, one percent.

Allen Fahden:  … it’s one percent of the population. We call it a oner.

Karla Nelson:  The oners. Exactly.

Allen Fahden:  One percent, they’re a balance of all four core natures. They can keep handing off to themselves, but nobody else can do that.

Karla Nelson:  Nobody else, yeah. One percent of the population. So, let’s look at what would a task-focused day look like.

Allen Fahden:  Okay, so here we are right in the deep within the bowels of function management, and you have a day where you go into the office. And let’s just say that half your work is in your core nature, and half your work is not. And that’s pretty typical. Might range from 60 to 40, maybe 70 to 30 some days, but usually you’re around 50/50. Just depends on the day.

But you’ve got … so half your work is in your core nature, half of it is not. Okay? The work that’s in your core nature, you’re really fast at it. You’re great at it. You love it. It’s wonderful. The work that’s outside your core nature, you’re slow at it. You don’t know very much. You doubt yourself. You shame yourself, and you’re miserable.

Karla Nelson:  Or, you’re like me, and you just put that thing off and then after it sits on your to-do list for about four or five days, you’re like, “I got to get to it.”

Allen Fahden:  The expense reports that have been piling up over there, and the company owes me $78,000. So what do we do? We procrastinate on the things that we don’t do well, that they’re not in our core nature. So here’s the question. If you have 50/50 in your core nature and out of your core nature, does that mean you’re spending 50 percent of your time that day on each and getting it done?

Karla Nelson:  No, way.

Allen Fahden:  No, way. So what is it?

Karla Nelson:  I’m not … actually, it’s more probably 90/10, is what I would guess.

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely. Now, here’s the bad news. The 90/10 is not leaning your way. The 90 percent is spent on all your crap work and stuff you hate doing, the stuff that makes you miserable. It drains your energy, makes you want to go home and eat bad food and watch reality TV for the rest of your life. 90 percent of your day, because you’re so slow.

Now, in the meantime, you say, “Oh, that won’t bother me. What I’m going to do, is I’m going to do the stuff I love, and I’ll do that first. And then I’ll be really energized and motivated.” Well, good luck with that, because you’ll get that done-

Karla Nelson:  No, because that takes you like 10 minutes to do that, and you’re still stretching.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, 10 minutes is dragging it out, mostly. And so now, here you are on top of the world, and you are … It’s like your first start out on the rollercoaster. You go up to the top, and you know how the rollercoaster really slows down at the top? You get a great view and everything’s just fine, and all of a sudden, look out. Oh, god. Zoom. Your life is miserable after that. You fall fast.

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. You’re trudging through the mud for the majority of the day, when it’s so easy to do the things that we’re … that are natural to us, right?

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  In our core nature and our strength. So, let’s break this down, then, and with the Mover, Shaker, Prover, Maker and break it down to say okay, if you are a Mover, what would an ideal person-focused … again, that’s going back to role management, not function management … so, person-focused day look like?

Allen Fahden:  All right. Good. So, here’s ideal input and output for a Mover, and this is what makes a great day. Ideal input? Ideas. People are bringing you new projects, ideas that they have to make things better, to make things different, to revolutionize things. You get to set priorities, choose which ideas are the highest priority. And your processor, your internal processor, designs a plan and your output is that plan. So now you know that gosh, I can get this done in a week and a half. We go to that person over there, and they got a budget and don’t worry about these regulatory people yet, because we got plenty of wiggle room in here. We can have this whole project up and running in about six weeks. Boom. Launch, launch, launch.

Karla Nelson:  Love it. Yes.

Allen Fahden:  How does that sound, Mover?

Karla Nelson:  It got me going, that’s for sure. So, definitely launch. That’s a great word, actually, for a Mover. Get things going in a very quick and short order with the right team, doing the right things, for sure. And so with that, in being a Shaker, what would an ideal person-focused … again, focused on role management not function management … what would that look like?

Allen Fahden:  Yes, and it’s a Shaker-

Karla Nelson:  This is my favorite one, by the way. I have to tell you, seriously, I can even answer. Walk around and just give people ideas all day. It’s like-

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  It’s so counterintuitive, right?

Allen Fahden:  It’s a tennis game shakers are really good at return of serve. Occasionally, they’ll see something, they’ll see somebody talking about something, and saying, “Hey, wait a minute. That could be a great idea. Why don’t we do that?” Those are usually the big ideas. So there’s the macro level and that’s like, let’s revolutionize the industry. And boy, is that fun. Let’s just talk about those, and we’ll flesh them out a little bit, and then we’ll hand them off to a Mover and make sure they happen.

So my input is problems or situations. Micro’s problems, and macro is situations. Nobody’s done anything very interesting at all in real estate for 20 years. What would you do, and you start thinking about it, and boom. Big idea. Then the output, of course, is the idea.

Karla Nelson:  Yes, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Okay. So with that, in a person-focused day, what would it look like for a Prover?

Allen Fahden:  So the input for the Prover is the plan, and the Prover processes the plan. The output is the critique. It’s the warning. It’s the what can going wrong.

Karla Nelson:  Got it. Awesome. And so then, we should move to, with being a Maker, then. What would an ideal person-focused, or role management, look like for a Maker?

Allen Fahden:  So, for a Maker, who really wants to keep things the way they are. They want to do little baby steps, incremental improvement. They love to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. So they have a little different set of inputs, because you don’t mess with the Maker. They don’t even want to be in the meetings. So one great input for-

Karla Nelson:  Which is 100 percent of the time. Every single time you ever ask that question in a group that says who just doesn’t even want to be here? The Maker will raise their hand, and they will absolutely 100 percent self-identify themselves.

Allen Fahden:  One of the great bargaining chips for the Makers, and I’ve used this many times in my career, is you do this and I will leave you alone. “Oh, really? Wow. Okay. I’m in.”

Karla Nelson:  Just leave me alone. Let me do my work.

Allen Fahden:  A good input for a Maker is an incremental piece of input that will … it might be, “Hey, we need to make a small change here, and we need you to write some code for the software. We’re making a change in our shipping method, and I want you to think about it for three days and write down some of your thoughts and then let’s talk about it. We won’t do anything until we get your thoughts on it to make sure it doesn’t throw out the babies with the bath water.”

And the Maker’s output is a smoothly running system. And so anything you can do to help that Maker make the system run smoother, the better it is. Now, interestingly enough, everybody else, the Mover, the Shaker, the Prover are all sitting there trying to generate more revenue, and it’s the Maker who’s turning that revenue into profit by cutting costs, by doing things more efficiently. So it goes effective, effective, effective, and then efficient. Now, the Prover kind of goes both ways. It’s the Prover and the Maker that conspire to make things run smoothly.

Karla Nelson:  Oh, I love my Prover in between the Maker. Let me tell you, the Prover always has that ability to slow down enough for the Maker. Which, a Mover, is just not typically patient enough to deal with that, even though it’s … again, we need everybody. We just don’t need them all at the same time.

Allen Fahden:  All at the same time. And, let’s go back to the Michael Hammer quote, the “we move into the 21st century with a 19th century organization.” Well, what is that? A 19th century organization is basically Provers handing out work assignments to Makers, and then making sure that the hours get calculated okay, and the reports, and things like that. You’re doing the same thing over and over and over and over again. There’s nothing much in the organization for innovation. That’s where all the crazies went. And it still is.

Karla Nelson:  Love that. So that brings us back to this final wrap up question, which is how do we get meaningful work done … and I love this quote, actually. It was a Peter Drucker quote I think you shared with me, but how do you get meaningful work done when you’re worried about the person in the office next to you? Which brings us right back to authenticity and trust.

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely. What we’re talking about here is not the only determiner of trust. There’s certainly a lot more, and you can read people like Stephen Covey and a lot of the authors about motivation. There’s just a lot of great stuff written about that, but we have ignored one important piece. And that important piece is what are our core natures, and how well are they matched up?

So, for example, if I’m a Shaker and you’re going to put me in the room with a Prover and we’re going to work together on things, well good luck with that. Because we’re just going to argue all day long.

Karla Nelson:  What a good point, by the way, because it’s not that you don’t like each other personally. It’s just that when you’re tasked, with what we started out the podcast with, with getting something accomplished, that’s when the rubbage happens. Because I’ve seen Shakers and Provers completely love each other personally, but then as soon as you stick them on a job and something to get accomplished, that’s when it … they start misunderstanding each other.

Allen Fahden:  Yes, their natures negate each other. We call those red light relationships, and we’ve talked about them before. So imagine this. This stuff can go out of whack really quickly. So, so-and-so doesn’t like my idea, and that person’s a Prover and I’m a Shaker, and I’m trying to jam my idea through and that person’s resisting it. So that person doesn’t know what to do, so goes to the boss and says, “We can’t do this. It’ll destroy the company.” So the Prover comes back in and said, “You just stabbed me in the back.” “I did not.” Now we’re really escalating this thing.

Karla Nelson:  Good point. Yeah, because it wasn’t stabbed me in the back. It was hey, I just saw that there could be some potential challenges with this. It was presented before poking all the holes in it.

Allen Fahden:  And by the way, where’s that report you were supposed to write? You promised it to me on Tuesday.

Karla Nelson:  And the Prover looks at the Shaker like, “Are you totally slacking or what?”

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, and so management all of a sudden bursts through the door with a big smile and says, “Guess what? Not only are we bringing a new ping pong table in here, but we’re going to have a Friday afternoon for lunch potluck. And everybody’s going to bring a bunch of really good dishes. It’ll be like a party.”

Karla Nelson:  And we’ll sit around and sing Kumbaya, as if that ever worked.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, so now right now, we’re wanting to kill each other, so I’m just thinking about how I can leap over the table and pound him into unconsciousness with my ping pong paddle.

Karla Nelson:  Oh my gosh. That is just-

Allen Fahden:  And the point here is that all the studies on motivation say it’s not extrinsic that works. Don’t bring in a motivational speaker. Find how people are motivated on the inside. What’s their passion, and what’s their core nature, so they apply those strengths and those talents to that work and then hand off to the right person. That’s when things really start to move.

Karla Nelson:  Love it. Okay, so we’re just wrapping up the seventh part of an eight-part series. Me, We, Us, All, and we’ve added They. Which we will finalize next week. Allen, again, it’s always fun.

Allen Fahden:  Lots of fun. Thank you. I’m going back to my ping pong table.

Karla Nelson:  See you next week.

Allen Fahden:  See you.

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