It seems that dreamers and doers are often misunderstood and misunderstand each other. Dan Rockwell shares some helpful insight on how they can work together for the common good.

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell


One of my biggest regrets as a leader is misunderstanding the unique viewpoints of Doers, Dreamers, and Feelers.

Facing obstacles:

Doers and Dreamers face resistance, obstacles, and failure differently.

Doers push through. Dreamers adapt quickly.

The first inclination of a Doer is to buckle down and make the current plan work. Doers change reluctantly.

The first inclination of a Dreamer is to suggest alternatives. “Why don’t we try…?” Or, “Oh boy! We could…!” Change is like Christmas morning to Dreamers. “What’s next?”

Let the craziness begin:

Dreamers love to shake things up. Doers love to nail things down.

Doers don’t want five new alternatives. They want to figure out how to make the current plan work. Dreamers are like lawn chairs in a hurricane. 

Dreamers stress out Doers when they offer suggestion after suggestion. 

Organizations led by dreamers struggle to keep up with all the changes. Doers want to settle down and create stability.

Dreamers create chaos. Doers go stagnant.

Maximize the difference:

Doers create stability. You’re a train wreck without them. Lean toward the Doer orientation when you’ve started too many things and finished too few. 

When Doers are frustrated, don’t offer five new alternatives. 

Ask Doers:

  1. “What isn’t working?” Doers are great at being judgmental.
  2. “What needs to stop?” Doers hate waste.
  3. “What’s making this work?” Doers love a smooth running machine.

Focus your Dreamers. Ask, “What would make the current plan work?” If you don’t rein them in, Dreamers are off to the races. Narrow their attention to one thing.

Lean toward Dreamers when you need options. Lean toward Doers when making decisions.

How might might teams maximize the differences between Doers and Dreamers without going nuts?