By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Every organization has 3 kinds of people:  Visionaries, Translators, and Implementers.  Where they are in the organization and how they interact with you is critical to your job search.

First, a definition:

  • Visionaries see over the horizon and set the direction of the unit or organization
  • Translators interpret the vision and develop strategies to accomplish the unit’s objectives
  • Implementers execute the actions necessary to achieve the results

Each one of these elements is within us, albeit at varying degrees and ability.  It’s a question of identifying the more dominant ones.  If you could rate yourself in each of these elements, what would be the percent distribution? A 10% visionary?  A 20% translator? With a 70% implementer?  Or would it be 50/25/25?  Or maybe even 10/50/40?  No combination is good or bad, but helpful to know.  The question is what’s your combination and how it effectively fits with your boss and peers?

What’s the best combination for you to function most effectively?  Sometimes if your boss is a visionary, a translator might be needed.  If your boss is a translator, an implementer could be best. Or sometimes a visionary may want another visionary on staff as a sounding board.  There is no “one size fits all”, but understanding how you function within your environment is critical.

The best Visionary is at or near the top of a unit.  It’s difficult to provide vision from the bottom.

Translators take the vision and evolve it into operational strategies.  They are the ones who determine the actions that need to take place within their functional responsibilities.  The Translators then integrate all of the pieces into a coherent whole.

The Implementers are just that…  those who execute the strategies into results for the success of the enterprise.  They are the “doers” of the organization, executing the strategies to accomplish the vision.  Without excellent implementers, the best vision in the world is useless.

Assess your current organization. Who does what?  Where do you fit in?  How do you best function?  Now assess your potential boss:  A visionary, translator or implementer?  If you report to different types of bosses, will it affect your performance?  You bet!!  If you are primarily a visionary/translator you will have a great deal of difficulty if you are forced into a pure implementer’s role.

So, if I was interviewing you for a position, I’d be looking at the level that you’ll be performing, plus look at your potential to perform in these different roles. The most difficult jump for people to make is moving from an Implementer role to a Translator role.  I’m sure you know of cases where an excellent salesperson (Implementer) who becomes a less than satisfactory sales manager (Translator) because their skill sets are mismatched with the expectations.

Neither one of these elements is better than the other.  It’s a question of matching and balancing these elements to achieve the objectives of the organization.

Take control of your destiny.  Be a candidate rather an applicant.  Join us at My Greener Future.

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By My Greener Future

My Greener Future is a Job Search Strategy and Career Coaching Company. At My Greener Future, you will be connected with industry coaches who care about you and your career as much as you do. They will work with you to create your very own custom career plan and support you in achieving your short term and long term career goals. Join My Greener Future TODAY and see how it will change the way you think about your career.