Can Do People and Can’t Do People

Can Do People and Can’t Do People

My company has undergone a lot of changes in the past few months and it has made me think a lot about personalities and companies.  One of those observations has been about the “Can Do” type people.  It’s been universally suggested that these go-getter “Can Do” people are the ones that every company should get as many of as they can.  Undoubtedly, these people make some of the best entrepreneurs and some of the best leaders in any organization.

They also have their dangers.  Can do people often fail to prioritize properly and end up with 60% of 10 things done and nothing finished.  Every organization needs to have it’s “Default Answer No” people around too.  I think one of the key differences between the best entrepreneurs in the world and less successful entrepreneurs is an acknowledgement that some of their advisers must be “Default Answer No” people and that they have to be very careful when they do something even though the “No Guy” isn’t buying it.  I’m not saying you don’t overrule him sometimes, I’m just saying you do so carefully.

  • Sean Kitzmiller

    Good point Jonathan. The power of negative thinking in reasonable measure can be a salvation. One of the dangers I  have experienced and admittedly exhibited is too much optimism… “we can do that” “no problem” “love this idea” can lead to a false sense of security. You get lazy. Sometimes the pessimist “Eeyore” can be just the person to spur true breakthroughs. 

    The best leaders and innovators I have worked alongside also have the ability to effectively switch hats or channel their own inner nay sayer. For died in the wool Can Do folks there are two techniques I’ve seen work, but they have to really buy into the exercises- 1) You are now working for [insert company’s most fearsome competitor/or startup]. How do you crush the idea/product (that you “love”). 2) You wake up six months from now and your company just declared bankruptcy. Come up with the causes of why it happened. On the later, I’ve actually produced realistic news articles to help really plant the seed.  

    • I love the newspaper idea… any interest in writing a guest post about it? I think a ton of startups could benefit from the experience.