I’m pretty sure there are more than, “two kinds of people in the world,” as the old saying goes. However, a lot of folk in development and leadership positions in non-profits can be divided up into two groups: the do-ers and the be-ers.
“Do-ers” are those individual who achieve results. They want to do something. They are busy, but they aren’t just busy. They get results that matter for the organization. They don’t pause very long to pay much attention to title or organizational status. Instead, they are driven by the work and achievement.
“Be-ers,” on the other hand, are consumed by status. They want to be something. Because achievement is not their aim, they avoid benchmarks and goals and focus attention on titles and position. Be-ers are the guys who scan the room at an event when they are talking with you to see who else, (other than you) they should be talking to at that moment. Be-ers are posers.
Ego, appropriately focused, is a wonderful thing. When we have more ego for our organization than we do for ourselves, we become Do-ers and we can make magic happen. When ego for self trumps ego for the organization, we begin to look like Be-ers. Not a good direction to move in.
By-the-by, I have never met a successful “Be-er Leader.” When younger development professionals (or even more mature ones) ask me questions about their career path, I encourage them not to only focus on the career path because that is in alignment with the Be-er mentality.
Instead, I suggest they primarily focus on the work immediately in front of them. Getting results early – results that matter – will open all kinds of opportunities.
Here’s a thought: Do-ers, ultimately, will achieve status and prestige for their good work. Achievement most always gets rewarded. But the reverse isn’t true for the Be-ers. The focus of the Be-ers is to protect and promote their image. And their image doesn’t produce results and it typically doesn’t make a difference.
Do you know any Do-ers and Be-ers? And more importantly, which are you?