There are only 4 types of jobs in the world
Every job has a mix of all four work types dependent on the actual work involved, the scope and scale of the role, and the company’s growth rate. To ensure balance and flexibility, all of these four work types should be taken into account when preparing any new performance-based job description. SInce people tend to start out using their skills in Producer jobs, it’s best to start here. Here’s how:
Producers: these people execute or maintain a repeatable process. This can range from simple things like working on an inbound help desk and handling some transactional process like basic sales, to more complex, like auditing the performance of a big system, writing code, or producing the monthly financial reports. Producers typically require training or advanced skills to be in a position to execute the process. To determine the appropriate Producer performance objectives, ask the hiring manager to define how any required skill is used on the job and how its success would be measured, e.g., “contact 15 new customers per week and have five agree to an onsite demonstration.“ This is a lot better than saying “the person must have 3-5 years of sales experience selling to sophisticated buyers of electro-mechanical control valves.”
Improvers: these people upgrade, change or make a repeatable process better. Managers are generally required to continually monitor and improve a process under their responsibility. Building, training and developing the team to implement a process is part of an Improver’s role. Improvers can be individual contributors or managers of teams and projects, the key is the focus on improving an existing system, business or process. A performance objective for an Improver could be “conduct a comprehensive process review of the wafer fab process to determine what it would take to improve end-to-end yield by 10%.”
Builders: these people take an idea from scratch and convert it into something tangible. This could be creating a new business, designing a complex new product, closing a big deal, or developing a new process. Entrepreneurs, inventors, turn-around executives, deal-makers, and project managers are typical jobs that emphasize the Builder component. Ask the hiring manager what big changes, new developments, big problems or major projects the person in the new job would need to address to determine the Builder component. An example might be, “lead the implementation of the new SAP supply change system over every business unit including international.” This is a lot better than saying “must have five years international logistics background and strong expertise with SAP.”
Thinkers: these people are the visionaries, strategists, intellects, and creators of the world, and every big idea starts with them. Their work covers new products, new business ideas, and different ways of doing everyday things. Ask hiring managers where the job requires thinking out-of-the-box or major problems to solve to develop the Thinker performance objectives. “Develop a totally new approach for reducing water usage by 50%,” is a lot better than saying “Must have 5-10 years of environmental engineering background including 3-5 years of wastewater management with a knack for creative solutions.”
Now for a little secret. Recognize that every person is comprised of a mix of each work type, with one or two dominant. Likewise for every job. Most require strengths in one or two of the work types. As you select people for new roles, it’s important to get this blending right. This starts by understanding the full requirements of the position, the strengths and weaknesses of others on the team, and the primary objective of the department, group or company. In the rush to hire, it’s easy to lose sight of this bigger picture, emphasizing skills and experience over performance and fit. This is how Builders get hired instead of Improvers, and Thinkers get hired when Producers are required. While there are only four work types, hiring the wrong one is often how the wrong work gets done.