Dreamers, but no implementers  

We dream and dream. We discuss and discuss. We come up with the most wonderful ideas, but nothing ever seems to happen around here.

Implementers, but no dreamers

We are busy doing a number of things, we are working longer and longer hours to get it all done but there is no excitement, no joy in what we do.  Same old stuff week after week, month after month, year after year.

A frustrated leader

Some time ago,  I had a somber conversation with a young leader who said that half of the board wanted to launch out and dream big dreams to impact their community and be relevant, but the other half was content to keep plugging along with what they have been doing for years and to just try to do it better. They told the dreamers to cool their jets and that everything would be just fine.

We need both

After years of watching organizations and teams, I have come to the strong conviction that any, and all, teams need to have a combination of dreamers and implementers–some with their heads in the clouds (in a good way) and some with their feet on the ground. Generally we are talking about two different kinds of people. The macro thinkers and the micro doers are generally not found in one and the same person.

I have seen teams, or been on teams, where the entire group was composed of conceptual thinkers, big idea generators, but next to nothing is decided and nothing new is ever tried.  Other teams don’t have a dreamer in the mix at all and they are experiencing the well-known statement by W. L. Bateman: “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”

I’ve also discovered that there is often a love/hate relationship between dreamers and implementers.  The dreamers are never quite ready to pull the trigger or are off to the next biggest and best idea without doing anything with the last great idea. On the other hand, the implementers are overly anxious to get a move on and get satisfaction from seeing things get done.

Without dreamers, your organization will soon be out of business. Without implementers, your ideas will never leave the runway.

I love what Larry Bossidy, author of “Execution,” says:

“What you want is a leadership gene pool that can conceive and shape executable strategies and convert them into operating plans and specific points of accountability. No strategy delivers results unless it’s converted into specific actions. Strategies most often fail because they aren’t executed well. Unless you translate big thoughts into concrete steps for action, they’re pointless.”