Movers, Shakers, Provers, and Makers. We need them all at the right time. Who are they really? This is the second in a four-part series that will go in depth on the strengths and characteristics of each of the four strengths. In this episode, Karla interviews Allen Fahden on what it means to be a Mover.
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Advanced Mover with Allen Fahden
Welcome to The People Catalysts Podcast, Allen Fahden.
It’s a beautiful day for a podcast.
You always have such a positive energy about you. I love it.
Thank you. Takes one to know one.
Favorite time? Podcast time.
Podcast time. It’s podcast time.
Oh my gosh, where did that come from? I remember that jingle.
I have no idea either. We are in part two of a four-part series which we’ve identified some advanced trainings for movers, shakers, provers, and makers. In part one was advanced shaker training, and now we’re moving to part two, which is advanced mover training. The format that we use to break it down in its most simplest form is that it’s funny, I’m going to be interviewing Allen as a mover even though he is a shaker. However, it’s obviously the way that we’ve formatted it in the past. I’ll jump in there just like I have in the past.
Because you’re a mover.
Because I’m a mover, because I can’t help myself, right? I’ll be asking Allen questions, and then we’ll go through each of the questions and position it as if Allen is a mover. Then of course I’ll be jumping in there because, again, I can’t help myself. Let’s get started. Ready to go?
All right. Allen, what are the two things that make you a mover?
Okay. Number one, are you an early adopter? What is an early adopter? We’ve talked about it several times. That’s based on the law of diffusion of innovations. An early adopter is somebody who behaves in their, say, life as a consumer as being first to buy the new product or service. We move that over into the workplace, it’s the first one to embrace new ideas and change in the workplace. There are two early adopters. There is a thinker, who we talked about last time, and that’s the shaker who comes up with the ideas. Then there’s the doer early adopter, who’s the mover. That’s the person who sets the priorities, picks which ideas will be the best to move ahead, the biggest priority, and then designs a launch plan that marshals the entire resources of the group to do that. Go ahead.
One piece of this is that only 15% of the population are movers. It’s actually very challenging sometimes in companies to find the movers, or they’re sitting in positions that they’re not being utilized for their best core nature of work. Do you remember the time we went in and it was the only mover in a 60-person company was the person who answered the phones?
That’s right. It was a great spot-
It was, but I was sweating, man, because we’re sitting there going, “There’s no movers. Okay, the only mover is the one who’s answering the phone.” Sure enough, knew nothing about insurance, and she still picked the best idea, which was-
It was interesting too because that happens time and time again. I’m going to go back for a moment to what you said before, and that is 15% of the people are movers, and they’re really hard to find. That’s because in a lot of companies they’re way under that 15%. Why? Because guess where the movers are? They left. They started their own business.
Yeah, that’s a great way to put it. You’re right.
It’s their nature.
It reminds me of that one company, do you remember, that had only one mover. Hoe many employees did they have?
100 employees, one mover. It was a company that was headed downhill. They’d lost a million dollars in revenue the last year. They had to lay off 10% of the staff. Out of a 100 people, we found one mover. She was in charge of production for the company, which is a little bit of miscasting because that’s a lot of buying stuff. Oftentimes that should be perhaps approver or approver maker combination. She was doing a great job because she was really energized.
That’s the thing about a mover. A lot of times they’ll do a great job because it’s just in their nature on the doer side I’ve found, though a lot of times they could be-
Right, get it done, get it done, get it done.
They could be buried right underneath the entire employee makeup.
We freed her up. She went to every meeting and played the role of a mover and used the WHO-DO Method, an early version of that, and kept the shakers and the provers apart. Things started speeding up. What happened within the year, we’d quadrupled the revenue from $7 million, more than quadrupled to $29.7, and it was at a 48% profit margin.
Incredible. Put the right people in the right place doing the right thing at the right time, and good things happen.
You got it. The only time it doesn’t work is if you don’t do it.
Don’t do it.
I don’t know who came up with that, but I love that. Allen, what is a good role for a mover?
This is the only sports metaphor you’re going to hear in this 10 seconds at least, and that is to be the point guard, like on a basketball team. That’s the person that brings the ball down and decides whether to whip a pass into the center in the paint, or to put a sideways pass over to the shooting guard to shoot a three, or to set up a play. It’s the same thing, it’s the mover in the company who sets up the play. They’ve got a great view.
You just made me think of something, Allen, is you could use that on any team sport. Football, it’s the quarterback, right?
It’s the quarterback, absolutely.
Then you go to soccer, it’s your forward who’s taking it down. It’s interesting. I never thought about it that way. You made me think of that because you said, “This is the lone sports analogy you’re going to get.”
In hockey, it’s the player whose mullet is flowing in the wind most freely. I’m pretty sure of that.
That’s good stuff.
Yeah, you betcha. The mover is the point guard. What does that mean? In an innovation team, that means the mover selects the best idea because they’ve got a great sense priorities. They also have a sense of priorities on what the team should be focusing on and when one phase ends and the next phase begins. They’ve just got a great gut sense of that. What do they do? They’re really great at planning a launch of any great idea. How do they do that? They identify resources or a great facilitator.
This is a good point. You said facilitator. After facilitating hundreds of trainings, and all the podcasts, and all the things that we’ve done through the years and being a mover is that we don’t care. Again, shakers say not to idea because it’s not their idea, provers say no to idea because there’s too much wrong with it, and makers because you’re going to mess up my entire existence. Movers don’t really care. They just want to get it done. They have a great facilitation mechanism of saying, “Let’s keep everybody in their own lanes,” and they can identify when somebody’s moving out of their lane more quickly. Why? Because it’s really, really important to them to get it done. They can speak in those terms. It’s not that we don’t have even trainers that are shakers or provers. It’s just that they’re more likely to move to their core nature of work where a mover is more likely to see someone else moving towards their core nature of work and say, “Uh-uh.” It’s just easier for them to do it.
Great point. The other thing too is I think their viewpoint toward ideas, where shakers, provers, and makers are worried for one viewpoint or another about killing ideas, shakers don’t want them killed, provers do, and makers just don’t want them around. The mover, their supply of ideas is their lifeblood. It’s like lets not kill any ideas. That’s a great concept for your enterprise anyway. Every idea is a non-balance sheet asset of the company. If it doesn’t work today, it doesn’t matter. 15 minutes from now everything will have changed, and there’s a good chance it wold work. Or you using the WHO-DO Method can overcome the barriers, and all of a sudden it works.
You got it. I love that. It’s probably because I’m a mover. You’re giving me goosebumps over here. Allen, who does the mover have the best relationship with?
Probably the shaker, I think, time and time again. It’s like they’re each other’s drug dealers, basically.
Oh, it’s definitely the shaker. No doubt about it.
Movers love ideas, and shakers provide them. Shakers love the doing. “Oh, get my idea done. Run with it. Are you kidding me? Please, please.”
A great part about this is in the ideation stage … Again, there’s two phases when we talk about phase one, phase two. Ideation is phase one. That’s trying to figure out what we’re going to do when running the process, and then implementation, which is phase two. A big part about phase one is that the shakers provide idea, idea, idea, idea. If you’ve got more than one, they’re just compounding these incredible ideas. Their idea always gets picked in some way, shape, or form, right? They love that piece. I’m a mover, a little bit of the secondary shaker. However, they’re wired to have that input, and they just love it. They love watching when that magic is happening between the shaker or shakers that it’s compounding.
There’s a compounding effect when you have a shaker, and a shaker, and a shaker. They come up with better, and better, and better, better, better, better, better, better ideas. The mover, it really energizes them because they’re sitting there watching it play out. They might not have been able to think about the ideas, but they’re really able to hone in and go, “That’s good. Ooh, that’s better. Oh, wow, combine those two, it’s even greater.” You’re right. I love that. It’s a new term around here. We’re each other’s drug dealer. That’s great. That reminds me of that book, that household name book because we don’t use any names on the podcast, that you helped facilitate write four chapters for.
It’s a business book. I created the entire time part of the book. There were three major parts of the book. The interesting thing about it was there were two co-authors. Both of them were famous. One was a shaker, and the other was a mover. They worked extremely well together, especially on the front end of the book. They actually wound up making major changes a couple of times because it wasn’t quite right yet. They just turned on a dime. Then even on this end, about two weeks before the chapters were due, there was a major snag that happened. I’m a shaker and was working with a mover on that part of it. We renamed everything, we changed everything, and met the deadline in two weeks. The whole thing was a bunch of impossible feats. The beautiful thing was it sold over a million copies. It debuted at number on Amazon.
I love how you said an impossible feat. How many times have we been faced with that? It’s amazing when you actually do have a deadline or something really challenging to overcome, a really great mover-shaker combination, it’s just like one-two punch, one-two punch. It’s just like [inaudible 00:13:00]. You can really work very quickly …
… on the front. Again, we’re talking about, depending on ideation or implementation, two different ways to go about working with the mover-shaker combination. However, they can move very rapidly in either of those scenarios or situations.
Right. Again, it’s a who to go to. When you need to do something quickly, you want to have a mover and shaker involved. Don’t forget to do that.
Yes, okay. Our next question here is, who does the mover likely have conflict with?
Oh, this is a fun one. The maker.
Oh, that’s so true.
They’re both doers, meaning they’re not random thinkers. They always think about what the next step is, everything in a sequence, one, two, three, four, five. But the mover likes to do big leaps, and the maker likes to do baby steps. It’s a question of patience versus impatience, seeing the big picture versus seeing the closeups and the smaller picture, dealing with the idea versus dealing with the details. They can just either annoy each other to death or perhaps sometimes terrify each other.
That’s funny you say baby steps because that reminds me of hiring a babysitter. It was even more than a babysitter because it was pretty much a full-time job for our kiddos. We have everybody profiled. They think we’re crazy around this place. I’ve got my six and nine-year-old profiled. By the way, my six-year-old is my perfect assistant, but he’s only six so we’ll see how that turns out. We’re hiring this individual, and we have her profiled. She’s a maker. That really is a great profile for somebody who’s watching your children because they’re going to take input, and they’re going to follow the rules. Here’s the deal. I can’t give those rules. I can plan the entire thing out. I can say, “Here are the food choices. Here’s the schedule for the day.” But what I can’t do as a mover that drives me insane is explain it and walk through those little steps. You said it perfectly, Allen, because you go from 1, 5, 10, 15 as a mover. You’re not in the details. You’re still in the big picture. You have to slow down and explain everything.
Otherwise, makers melt down. It’s interesting because I can see it and appreciate it. I absolutely love our makers because, again, we need everybody. We just don’t need them at the same time. It’s just agonizing for a mover to slow down that much and really work through all the details. Allen, with that, what is the solution to the conflict that movers and makers can have?
The solution is never a what, it’s a who. The who is like okay.
I love it. It’s always a who.
You as a mover ought to be talking to someone that you have a green or a yellow light relationship with so that things just don’t stop, so you don’t have the red light. Makers and movers have red light relationships. Movers and provers have yellow light relationships. That means they can kind of understand each other, accommodate each other. The mover then goes to the prover and says, “Here’s what I want to accomplish,” and you’d draw it out for the maker and answer all their questions. “Ask me anything you want, but you need to be doing this.”
It’s incredible the patience that provers have with the makers. I can’t even be in the room when it’s happening. Literally I’m not even doing it, and it’s painstakingly like I’ll put my headphones in and do something else.” It’s funny you say that because the solution, I knew she was a maker. That’s still a great person. My husband is a prover, and of course I knew he was prover. I was like, “Here you go. Here’s the schedule. Here’s the this. Here’s the thing. I am not walking through the details. That will drive me absolutely crazy,” but I could plan everything out that was really simple and easy. I just couldn’t painstakingly walk through each of the steps and say, “This is what we need to do.” Let me give you an example. An hour of play time, you had to give choices. Are you serious? Just go play soccer. Do something that’s moving your body. He had to list out 15 different choices that they had for that time instead of just-
And you had to come up with them.
Yeah. You can’t make this stuff up if you tried. Here’s the thing is most people going into this, they don’t know it, and they get so frustrated. Instead of frustration, removing the resistance, I love what you just said, Allen. The answer is always a who. You removed the resistance. Instead of trying to press harder to make it work, you find out who do we need in this situation and scenario. If there’s conflict or things are not working appropriately, how do we solve the problem?
Right. Just one last thing. Another way of looking at that is that we each have natural inboxes and natural outboxes. The outbox of a mover does not match the inbox of a maker. However, if you put a prover in between the two, then the outbox of the mover matches the inbox of the prover, and then the outbox of the prover converts that into detailed instructions, matches the inbox of the maker.
Love it, love it. Our next question here is, Allen, who is the other person movers potentially may have conflict with?
It is actually a person we were just talking about, and that is the prover. However, there’s a professional accommodation here where they have an ability to say, “Oh, yeah, I understand where you’re coming from,” and, “Oh, yeah, I understand you, too. How about if each of us make a slight adjustment here? We can probably pass this back and forth pretty easily,” just don’t operate out of an extreme. One thing you would say to the prover is, “Just don’t try to kill the idea. Please tell me what’s wrong with it and we can fix it, and be specific. But don’t try to kill the idea.” Then the prover can say to the mover, “Yeah, and just don’t try to jam some idea you haven’t thought through down my throat. Let’s just have a discussion.” It’s the way that you’d think everybody could have a discussion. It’s just that the shaker and the maker don’t want to be in that discussion. They both have too emotional of a down side, whereas the mover and the prover, “Oh, yeah.” At that moment, they can be the grownups.
We call this a yellow light relationship. They appreciate each other’s core nature of work because they’re the bridge. They meet each other in the middle and they go, “Hey, I need you. You need me. We don’t necessarily see things the same way. However, if we don’t work together, implementation doesn’t happen.” Ideation is very different. In ideation, you’re facilitating the process. You’re going through the process as many times until you figure out what it is that you’re going to do. Then in implementation, really movers and provers become very tight because, say for instance, you decide we’re going to implement this new technology. Guess what? Movers know they need it, but they don’t want to learn it or do it. Provers can. Movers appreciate the fact that they have somebody to hand it off to because our outbox matches their inbox. They’ll go and look at the 25 different things and how this is going to go wrong. Movers appreciate that because why? If you make a mistake and you have a hiccup, it just tosses everything into disarray, and then either you have to start over or you’re wasting time, energy, resources, momentum. Movers can’t stand wasting those things.
It’s really a key handoff. It’s one kind of handoff when you’re innovating. It’s another kind of handoff when you’re implementing. It’s oftentimes one of the more likely places that things can break down even when you’re using the WHO-DO Method. Both parties have got to be really aware of being at the their most accommodating and working things out. Once you get those relationships down, the toughest one, then things can really flow and really flow back up and down, up and down, up and down the theme as things change.
Got it. That brings us to our last question, Allen, is how does this breakdown between ideation or innovation, we use both words, and implementation happen?
Arthur Koestler who wrote The Act of Creation back in 1961 said everything is already created, so we don’t create new things. We actually combine things that already exist but haven’t been together before. When those two things haven’t been together before, they will energize half the people and even offend the other half of the people.
I love how you say that. It’s different. Remember, we’re talking from the perspective of a mover. The funny thing is the breakdown is different for all four core natures of work.
That’s right. We have some things here at stake. We do need that point guard in the innovation side just to keep things moving. Otherwise, you’ll never ever get a new idea done. That goes all the way back to the ’90s Fortune Magazine cover story, Why CEOs Fail. They couldn’t get a new idea done in their own company. They thought that was about 90% of the people who got fired, Akers from IBM, Amelio from Apple, and so forth. They couldn’t get anything new done in their own company. You’ve got to have that point guard as part of your team.
Then on the implementation side, if you don’t understand that your prover becomes your point guard and separating your mover from the shaker, because you’re going to inevitably run into challenges. Remember, it’s your shaker that can come up with innovative ways to solve that challenge and that problem, but the prover can’t go back to the shaker because that, again, is a red light relationship, and you get stuck. Even though your point guard is going to be your prover in implementation, if you don’t put your mover and buffer that relationship, then you just hit gridlock in trying to get over the roadblocks when you’ve already picked the idea and you’re trying to get it implemented.
Yeah. Those of you who are listening who were ever into things like Six Sigma, or perhaps Quality, perhaps Deming, one of the things, there was a technique in Quality called the Ishikawa fishbone diagram where if you had a problem, you’re stuck, you would ask five levels of why so you could determine cause and effect and solve the real cause of the problem. What nobody ever did then is ask as well as why, ask who.
Who, our favorite word.
Ask who. Yes, and you know what? When you’re stuck, one of the most predictable outcomes is, and this is probably 70%, 80% of the time and even larger than that, you’ve got two red light relationships trying to work together and not succeeding, canceling each other out.
It’s so rough. Even if they understand that one is a shaker and a prover, it’s just so rough to try to solve problems that way. You just have to have the right people in the right space at the right time doing the right thing. Awesome. Thank you so much for your time today, Allen.
Thank you, Karla.
Part two of a four-part series. You’ve just heard Advanced Mover Training.