Team Dynamics: The Visionary vs the Operator

Every team NEEDS a visionary and an operator.

And one thing I’ve had to realize, almost painfully, is that as you run a company, you can’t be both the visionary and operator/implementor.

The Visionary
Visionaries are impulsive, hate daily repetitive work, build systems rather than work them, hate operations and can’t stand doing repetitive chores like accounting.

They work on a whim: On request for an invoice, they’d rather build a whole accounting system that automates invoicing, than just open up a word processor, write and send that invoice to the client.

They do not ask for permission to disrupt, they’d rather ask for forgiveness later on.

And boy do they get bored fast. Like really really fast. One minute they are waxing lyrical about this new thing, the next they do not want to talk about it.

They get excited about new ideas faster than you can say excited. And they break a lot, a lot of things.

The Operator
On the other hand, “operators” are calculative, diligent, calm and prefer to work with targets. They are like a cheetah moving in for the kill: they believe a small step everyday will get them there. They don’t get excited over every new idea that comes up, they’d rather grind out an opportunity out of what’s currently working.

They ask for permission.

These are the best people to have as employees/ heads of operations.

Is it safe to put these two together in a room?

A combination of these two traits makes the perfect team to run a company. While the visionary gets excited about every opportunity, the “operator” keeps things in perspective, and ensures that the company does not do everything on a whim.

Simply put, visionaries build systems, operators use them.

Where do i fall?
I am a visionary.

Visionaries sound unemployable, eeh?

We are the worst people to have as employees. Trust me. I’ve employed visionaries before and I know how much of a pain in the ass they are to delegate to. You ask them to speak to a client , instead they build a messaging platform to automate messaging. Smh.

In my company Kejamove, for instance, I set the dream, I provide the structure/systems towards achieving it and Brian, my co-founder does the leg work towards putting everything together.

I find that my most productive moments are when i’m alone in my bedroom behind my laptop, figuring how to automate a tenet of the business while Brian finds his most productive moments are spent on the field, doing actual work, or even crunching data.

Who falls where?
Most startups hire for the following positions, so who fits where?
Admin: Operator
Developer: Operator
CTO: Visionary
CEO: Visionary
Operations manager/COO: Operator (duuh)
Marketer: Visionary
Sales: Operator (trust me, I tried sales before, we can’t hack)

Where do you fall?

P/S: We are hiring a social media manager. Figure out where that falls :).

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