In order to make the best of your natural strengths in the workplace and also to understand other people when you are in a recruitment position, it is important to acknowledge that people vary in terms of the way in which they approach their work.
In this article, we will take a look at two types of workers: Pioneers and Settlers. Once you have a grasp on what motivates each type and how they can play a role in a company, you will be well-placed to not only understand yourself but also to put together a well-rounded team if and when you are called to take on a leadership role.
Pioneers: The Innovative Risk Takers
Pioneers are often company CEOs, founders and team leaders. They are driven by the prospect of making a difference to the world around them and like to play a part in designing new products and services. They enjoy the prospect of building up a company from scratch or making their own unique vision a reality. They like to take risks and reason that even if their initial idea does not work out they have plenty more opportunities to succeed.
In general, they prefer to work quickly, welcoming challenges and living up to the high expectations placed upon them by other people. These people may often be highly-strung and occasionally volatile.
Pioneers are a vital ingredient for any new start-up or product line. They love the experience of discovering how a company’s range can best suit the needs of its customers, and they are willing to take risks and break new ground. Overall, they are a valuable source of energy and are invaluable in launching new ventures. A typical pioneer places value on creativity and may well come from a liberal arts background.
Settlers: The Strength Behind the Success
Settlers are useful once a company has been established, a few prototypes or products have been developed, and the next objective is to scale the business. Rather than being driven by innovation and new ideas, settlers tend to naturally focus on increasing product reach, boosting sales and developing the image of the company as a whole.
They take a longer-term view compared with pioneers who can be guilty of pursuing short-term excitement without considering how to measure a company’s success. On the other hand, they can lack imagination and be slow to suggest paths to meaningful change.
Settlers usually feel more comfortable with data and enjoy the application of numbers to predict growth. They may take great pride in interpreting customer feedback and using it to make suggestions regarding new products or services. These employees often come from analytic backgrounds. For instance, they may have studied math, engineering or finance at college.
Who is Better?
As you can see the characteristics and strengths of Pioneers and Settlers are very different. It makes no sense to speculate which is “best” as they each bring their own talents to the workplace.
Hiring a team made up solely of Pioneers is likely to result in a set of grand visions without the necessary momentum and planning to sustain an organisation. On the other hand, hiring too many Settlers may mean that you sacrifice innovation even if you can rely on them to keep a project or company “ticking over.”
It is also important to realize that many successful people are highly adaptable and are willing and able to develop their skills in a range of domains. This means that a person who otherwise fits the description of a “Settler” may well be able to succeed as a CEO for instance.
Whether you are a Pioneer or a Settler, take pride in your unique abilities. Whilst the ideas generated by the Pioneers may make them appear especially creative or innovative these ideas are of no use without Settlers to help a company reach an increasing audience and spur on profit!
Equally, whilst Settlers should feel proud of their ability to forecast growth and maintain a company’s success, they may do well to take a lesson from the Pioneers and take a few more risks from time to time. Broadening your skills base and remaining flexible in your behaviour is a great way to gain more interest and enjoyment from your role.