Available worldwide: The Personal MBA: 10th Anniversary Edition »
Josh Kaufman is the bestselling author of books on business, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, productivity, creativity, applied psychology, and practical wisdom. About Josh »
Businesses revolve around two complementary skill sets: Implementation and Enabling.
Implementors are the people who get things done. They create, shape, cut, refine, prototype, iterate, program, design, manufacture, and ship. They are the craftsmen that create something worth selling.
Enablers are the people who help the implementors focus on implementing. They make sure all of the implementors are working towards the same end result and deal with things that take time away from creating. They are the leaders, managers, and assistants who keep the business side of things running.
Having a mix of implementors and enablers is a very good thing. Implementors can exist without enablers, but they won’t be very efficient. It’s hard to do a good job creating something when you have to worry about calculating payroll taxes. Enablers can’t exist without implementors, since no business can exist for long without something to sell. Leadership and management are worthless without a team of people creating something.
The prevailing business culture seems to emphasize enabling over leading, and that’s a shame. The highly-visible CEO and executive team gets the glory, while the people who get things done behind the scenes are largely forgotten, both in glory and pay. That’s a travesty - neither could exist without the other.
Where do you fit? Do you consider yourself more of an implementor or enabler? Why?