The world needs Dreamers and the world needs Doers. But above all, the world needs Dreamers who Do.Sarah Ban Breathnach, Goodreads.com

Over the years, as I watched people flourish or flounder at work, I witnessed the degree to which success is dependent upon a good fit between workers and their role in the organization. I found there are two characteristics essential to success in any organization: dreaming and doing. We are all Dreamers and Doers to some extent, however most of us tend to lean a little more one way than the other.

When hiring new employees or considering a change for current employees, it’s a good idea to gauge the degree of Dreamer/Doer requirements of the position. A successful fit is almost always related to how a person’s Dreamer/Doer ratio aligns with their role. Dreamer roles tend to require more creativity, and Doer roles, more routine.

The charts shown above illustrate the Dreamer/Doer ratios for positions in a supply chain company:

  • A Material Planner is responsible for ordering materials needed for production. Usually the information comes from a system (e.g., MRP) and then the raw materials are ordered through the procurement system. Accuracy and consistency are essential to successfully executing the process every day to keep the production lines running. (Strong Doer)
  • A Planning Manager needs to be a creative problem solver in order to resolve issues that arise everyday. They must also be strong communicators and be able to work effectively and efficiently. (Strong Dreamer)
  • A Director of Logistics must develop innovative ways to improve the overall efficiency of the supply chain. People who have risen to this level have done so because of their strengths in both practical and creative arenas. (Strong Doer/Dreamer)

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Here are a few characteristics of Dreamers and Doers that may be helpful when determining the ratio of potential candidates:

Characteristics of an effective Dreamer

  • Candidates with experience in finding creative ways to use technology are dreamers. Various technologies continue to grow at an exponential rate. The companies with employees who find ways to leverage emerging technology will be leaders in their field. For example, new technologies exist in the form of improved hardware and software that allow for better, quicker decision-making. Companies who work out innovative ways to use this technology will have a competitive advantage.
  • Candidates who know how to gather and analyze data are effective Dreamers. For example, the Dreamers who have found innovative ways to optimize networks or systems will be extremely valuable in most organizations. Having the ability to review complex data analyses and provide solid recommendations for enhancements is always an excellent capability.

Characteristics of a strong Doer

  • Candidates with meaningful experiences as leaders, as well as working on successful teams, are strong Doers. Those who have demonstrated strong leadership skills in difficult situations are extremely valuable. When it comes to executing plans, I personally found the candidates who put a plan together, and then rolled up their sleeves to fully support the team, were going to be successful in the organization.
  • Candidates willing to take on difficult challenges and work outside their comfort zone are strong Doers. People who are ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’ are most likely to adapt and take on new challenges, as well as to grow within the organization.

One last consideration is to gauge a candidate’s ability (or willingness) to adjust their Dreamer/Doer ratio as they move up in the organization. Knowing that the roles at the various levels of the organization will require varying amounts of Dreamer/Doer, it’s important when hiring ‘high potential’ future leaders that they show the ability to ‘do’ as well as the ability to ‘dream’.

It takes a little practice and patience to get to know a person’s ‘ratio’ but once it is understood, there will be an improvement in success rate of the candidates.

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