If there is one personal quality that’s universally admired, it has to be “discipline.” We respect the determined person who can stay focused, avoid distraction, and see a thing through to completion. Whether that individual is attending medical school or building a full-sized Lego dinosaur, there’s something noble about the unwavering, single-minded pursuit of a goal.
Teamwork takes discipline too (and not just the discipline to avoid rolling your eyes when someone calls another meeting). It takes discipline to build a team and keep it together, to collaborate on ideas and objectives, to develop and execute a project plan, and to finish it without leaving loose ends.
There are four major roles a person can play on a team: Champion, Creator, Facilitator, or Implementer. Roles are determined by a combination of thinking style (divergent vs. convergent) and work orientation (people or tasks). Each role brings a different contribution to a team effort and each must practice a different form of discipline.
Today, we’re looking at the role of Implementer. An Implementer is a convergent thinker with a task orientation. This is the individual whose sense of discipline is imperative to achieving team objectives.
Have you ever looked at a team member and thought, “What the heck would we do without that person?” You know, the one who quietly and systematically hammers out the necessary, unglamorous work of scheduling, recordkeeping, coding, CADing, reporting, or whatever else is required to bring project plans to fruition. The one who does the stuff that requires close attention to detail, patience, and focus. That’s an Implementer.
For many of us, the fun part of a project comes at the beginning, when people are tossing around ideas and developing new concepts. But for Implementers, satisfaction comes from the actual process of execution and back-room administration. Implementers don’t tend to garner much attention, yet everyone knows the project would never get done without them. A team lacking Implementers will usually lack efficiency as well, and the ultimate output might not measure up to specifications. You’ll know you didn’t have enough Implementers when your phones are lighting up with customer complaints about quality.
At the same time, Implementers are not typically innovative thinkers or change agents. They tend to operate in the realm of the practical, where systems must be standardized and procedures followed if the work is to get done. Too many Implementers on your team, and you may not have the big-picture view needed to recognize business trends and design strategies, nor would you be particularly effective at gaining buy-in to ideas or negotiating service agreements with customers and internal stakeholders.
What can Implementers do to be more effective? As with any team role, it’s important for an Implementer to understand other perspectives and value other types of contributions. Looking beyond processes to larger team goals and being more tolerant of adjustments and changes along the way could reduce the likelihood of dysfunction (with the caveat that Creators must also recognize how midstream modifications can generate a lot of new work for Implementers). Implementers may also tend to view their labor-intensive duties as the “real” work without realizing, for instance, how much effort Facilitators put into dealing with differing—and sometimes conflicting—stakeholder needs.
Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking, “That description of an Implementer sounds a lot like me. But how do I get plotted on a 4-Box and find out for sure?”
The answer: by completing a Caliper assessment.
Based on your unique blend of personality traits, you’ll land somewhere on the convergent/divergent scale in your thinking style and somewhere between task oriented and people oriented in your work approach. If the formula places you somewhere in the lower right quadrant, you’re an Implementer.
The next step is finding a way to use that information for improving team effectiveness. The good news: Caliper has a tool for that.
It’s called the Team Roles Report. This report plots your entire team into quadrants on a Caliper 4-Box, enabling you to see the breakdown of Champions, Creators, Facilitators, and Implementers. It also shows your group’s distributions in thinking styles, people skills, and task focus as well as individual team members’ strengths and limitations in those areas.
This report can be a revelation for your team. Not only do you see what’s missing overall (too few people in one quadrant, for example, or too many in another), but you also discover which team members are in the wrong roles. Imagine that Fred, a guy known for reliably seeing things through to completion, is “rewarded” with the task of building a team and getting members on board with a new initiative. Since he is actually an Implementer by nature, and not the Champion they want him to be, he ends up doing most of the work himself and comes to be viewed as ineffectual. Sometimes fixing problems with team performance can be as simple as realigning responsibilities.
There are four major reasons you’d want to know if you are an Implementer or fit one of the other roles: To make sure you’re in the team role that plays to your strengths, To maximize the strengths you bring to the team, To help you , communicate and collaborate more effectively with fellow team members, To see, when your entire team is plotted on a 4-Box graph, where the gaps lie.
If you’re ready to learn more about how the 4-Box can help improve the effectiveness of your team, department, or small company, let us know by applying the contact method of your choice.