If you’ve read the E-Myth (and if you’re a new business owner it’s definitely one to pop on the top of your reading list), you’ll be familiar with Michael Gerber’s three essential roles in a business: The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician. The Entrepreneur role is strategic in nature. It decides where the business is going and why. It’s mostly future focused, some people even call it The Visionary. The Technician on the other hand is completely tactical. It focuses on the here and now delivering the product in an efficient and effective way. The Manager is the bridge between The Entrepreneur and The Technician. It creates order and routine our of chaos creating systems and managing people. Building a business requires all three roles to be successful.
If you haven’t read the Emyth, the main premise is that when we start out building a business, most of us focus on The Technician role. If you want to build a bakery, you are the baker. If you want to build a creative agency, you’re the graphic designer. The thing to remember when you’re being the Technician is that you’re essentially creating a job for yourself rather than creating a business (which is fine if your goal in leaving the corporate world is to become self-employed rather than building a business that is scalable and independent of yourself).
The INFP can be known to be a bit of a dreamer. For this reason they’re likely to be fabulous visionaries. They are idealists and almost always have brilliant ideas about how to make the world a better place, to help the down trodden and make things easier for those they see struggling. They also don’t usually mind rolling up their sleeves and playing the role of The Technician… IF (and this is a big ‘IF’) the technician role isn’t too fast-paced, time pressured and complex. Where I see INFPs struggle is in The Manager role. At their core INFPs believe that individual needs and desires should be honoured, so they often have a hard time telling people what to do and how they should do it. My advice for an INFP would be to spend most of their time in The Entrepreneur/visionary role, employ a Manager to take care of efficiency, outputs and people and use your time to INSPIRE your team and occasionally get into the trenches, on the ground and take on The Technician role in small doses allowing lots of time, firstly because you’re likely to sort of enjoy it and secondly because you like your team to know that ultimately, you’re one of them.
Oh, the loveable ENFP! We call this type the BFF because they really are everyone’s best mate. Warm and charming, they’re great with people. Ultimately though the ENFP is best suited to The Entrepreneur role. They’ll usually have big bold dreams of helping everyone in the world reach their full potential! And while they can take on The Manager role to some extent in a motivational context, they’re best leaving any nitty-gritty and efficiencies to others so they can dream big, accumulate allies and bring people into the fold of the business with their infectious attitude. The Technician is definitely a role the ENFP is not likely to enjoy. In fact, they may be likely to get half way through tasks when they feel the pull to be moving onto the next shiny new thing in their business. The biggest piece of advice I have is keep dreaming big ENFPs! It’s your super power…. but get those systems and automations set up fast and a fantastic Executive Assistant and technician team to execute your deliverables as you ‘whirlwind’ your way into changing the world.
3. The INTP (or as we call this type: ‘The Truthseeker’)
I cannot tell you how much I love INTPs. They’re the most fabulous independent thinkers, they’re quirky, interesting and… they love being alone. The INTP business owner is likely to excel when they’re left to their own devices to study, research, experiment and create. Sometimes I may not hear from my INTP friends for a time, and when they pop their heads back up I invariably ask ‘What hole have you been in?’ because it’s likely they’ve been insatiably researching a topic, or many topics, and forming ground breaking theories. It’s for this reason that INTPs are unlikely to enjoy the role of The Manager. People are a bit of a quandary to the INTP Truthseeker, because humans often act in strange and unpredictable ways. As people who love to work with accurate data and truth… the ways of people can make them feel like they’re in way over their heads. The INTP is also likely to be comfortable in the role of The Technician if they’re able to be left to their own devices (no team work here puuuhhhleeeaaase), but usually they’re brilliant visionaries who are best to come up with the new great idea, then pair themselves with a team of people who are adept at getting it our their into the real world while they go back to improving and perfecting the product or service or coming up with new iterations of it.
4. The ENTP (or as we call this type: ‘The Revolutionary’)
When you meet and ENTP business owner, you’ll feel like you’ve met one of the cleverest people in the universe (well, that’s how I feel anyway). Their ability to take in vast amounts of knowledge and turn it into information that the rest of us can easily consume and use to make our lives better is a force to be seen. ENTPs are natural experimenters and revel in taking information that’s out there in the world, creating connections between it all and pulling it into new and effective ways of doing things. For this reason ENTPs are great at talking and teaching… Just don’t slow them down or get in their way, instead take some of that minutiae of running a business off their hands as it’s likely to be one of those things that really does get in the way of putting their genius out into the world. For this reason, they’re likely to be great at delivering their product (a Technician role) if it’s a knowledge product or service (and watch them go!), but anything that slows them down, which could at times be The Entrepreneur role (strategy and planning) or the Manager Role (negotiating the needs of all the people) may be a frustration. ENTPs are often in their genius zone when you see them accumulating and disseminating information that they just know will improve systems, lives or the way things are done.
5. The INTJ (or as we call this type: ‘The Strategist’)
With a name like ‘The Strategist’ it’s fair to assume that INTJs are going to be pretty adept at long-term planning which is the core function of The Entrepreneur or Visionary. They are deep thinkers who take pride in taking the time to turn over multiple, complex topics, examine them from every angle, and coming up with better ways to do things (Take Elon Musk and his electric cars for example). INTJs may have a little bit of an academic or technical skew, so their genius often arises when their abstract theoretical minds combine with knowledge to blow our minds with advanced technology or scientific discoveries. While INTJs are likely to prefer being alone, researching, thinking and conjuring up new and interesting ways to blow our minds, they do have the capability to take on The Manager role in terms of efficiently organising time, money and resources and creating systems. Where they may need some assistance in this area is communicating their vision and management style in a way that excites and motivates others (some say that at times INTJs, who are big softies on the inside when you get to know them, can be a little abrupt). The Technician role will also be something the INTJ can do, and can do capably (because there’s nothing an INTJ likes more than a capable strategic execution), but is probably not where they’re going to enjoy spending most of their time. There are, after all, a never ending supply of concepts still out there to be researched and things to be conquered!
6. The ENTJ (or as we call this type: ‘The Captain’)
If you think about the traditional idea of the corporate CEO, you’re probably thinking of an ENTJ. Highly adept at time, resource and money management, the ENTJ has an innate ability to know which people need to be in which roles to make things happen and money flow. For this reason, ENTJs are often brilliant Entrepreneurs and Managers. They’re the type least likely to accidentally fall into the role of The Technician when they start a business, because they don’t need to be told that that would just be an inefficient use of time. And they’re the type most likely to replace themselves with a Manager at the earliest opportunity… because you know, they have a helicopter to go and fly somewhere.
7. The INFJ (or as we call this type: ‘The Catalyst’)
After working with many INFJs, the place I see them most comfortable is in the Technician role… where you’ll find them working with people deeply to create big changes in their lives. This is not to say they don’t have a bigger vision like The Entrepreneur, which they usually do, but they can get tied up in the day-to-day technician side of things, delivering to the people, while the visionary side can sort of get forgotten about. What I see working really well for INFJs is to create signature systems with their own deeply thought out Intellectual Property (IP) which they’ve usually spent years thinking about, and using this to increase their prices so they can step out of The Technician role and bring more of their Entrepreneurial visionary genius into play. INFJs have an innate talent of seeing people and how people fit into the systems around them, for this reason they can also be brilliant Managers and can sometimes be seen in roles like HR or health and safety and wellness programs, making people systems more humane, efficient and life prolonging.
8. The ENFJ (or as we call this type: ‘The Mentor’)
Out of all the types, the ENFJ would be my pick for The Manager role. ENFJs have a way of bringing people together in a common cause for the good of all (Think Oprah). When they pair this skill with their naturally visionary nature and step into The entrepreneurial role, they can truly be a force of good to be reckoned with – efficient, caring, inspiring and motivating… they won’t even have time to be the Technician. They’ve got bigger things to do.
9. The ESTJ (or as we call this type: ‘The Stationmaster’)
If there is a type that was born to be The Manager, it’s the ESTJ. They will set up and run their business on time, on task and on budget like no one’s business. And they will have seventeen reports in triplicate about how they did it and how efficiencies can be improved in the future. As an INFP (the opposite type to an ESTJ), I often find myself in awe of ESTJs as they set up shop without breaking a sweat. They can be The Technician, and they’ll probably do the job more efficiently than most, but where they’re brilliant is bringing systems and efficiencies to the team (just be mindful of not micro-managing them because at one time or another you’ll probably have the urge to say ‘Oh get out of the way, I’ll do it’. I have seen some ESTJs take on The Visionary role, and when I have, it’s usually to make the world a safer place or to protect someone or something… so their business may have come from a more Entrepreneurial idea of ‘something can be done better/safer’ but the place they’ll shine is executing it efficiently. One thing to keep an eye on is getting stuck in efficiencies, routines and systems that work but missing the need to adapt and change with a changing market – yes it may work now, but in the back of your mind be aware of the benefits of innovation, especially as your market goes through growth and into maturity. Really though, when it comes to business, the bottom line is (and ESTJs are great at bottom lines)… If you want something done and you want it done right, call an ESTJ.
10. The ISTJ (or as we call this type: ‘The Rock’)
Dependable, loyal and trustworthy, every business needs an ISTJ (a team of them would be even better!). They make the most brilliant Technicians, and pretty great Managers too. You know you could ask them to do a task, duck away for a day, or hell, even a month and know without a shadow of a doubt that everything would be taken care of when you return. The Entrepreneur role isn’t something I often see ISTJs that interested in, so when it comes to business, a franchise arrangement can be perfect. Someone else has created the vision, set up the system, and all they need to do is execute, consistently, regularly, with duty and care, over and over again. If there’s anything an ISTJ can really get into, it’s a nice, stable routine.
11. The ISFP (or as we call this type: ‘The Producer’)
We call the ISFP The Producer because usually they’re into creating something in real time…and it usually has some sort of creative or adventurous spirit to it… whether it’s a chef creating a meal, or a spiritual leader rousing a crowd with an inspiring speech, an artist showing others how to paint or a nature teacher sharing the love of the great outdoors with children in the moment… letting them explore and experiment without rules and structure tying them down. ISFPs are master technicians. They live in the moment perfecting their craft, but can struggle to know which direction to take it in. They want to create moments that help others EXPERIENCE things vividly, with emotion and depth, permeating through their body and soul. They love the ‘in the moment’ delivery of their product or service. It’s almost like a visionary performance. But… they can get bogged down if they take on too much administration, systems, logistics and resource management roles….When I work with ISFPs I think of them as similar to a rock star. They need to be free to perform and have something similar to an agent who books their gigs and manages the day-today things and people. The more the ISFP tries to take on these roles, the more the brilliance of their performance will be diluted. So all-in-all, I give all the ISFPs out there permission to live in their genius state and embrace their inner creative diva!
12. The ESFP (or as we call this type: ‘The Entertainer’)
If there’s one thing an ESFP knows how to do it’s have a good time! ESFPs love to be in the moment experiencing all life has to offer. And because of their generally accepting and non-judgmental nature, they can do it with almost anyone, anytime. What I see work well for ESFPs is groups of people. Live groups, workshops, Facebook groups, social media, being influencers… all the fun, people things. Because of ESFPs ability to be in the moment, the Technician role may be more appealing to them. The futuristic Entrpreneurial role may not be as attractive as they’d rather be here, now, experiencing the goodness of life. So sitting down for a long term planning session may not be something they relish in putting onto their calendar. They can however be fun, motivating and inspiring leaders… it may just be a good idea to have that person in your team who makes sure you’re on track to where you want to go and that all the ‘i’s are dotted and the ‘t’s are crossed as you take everyone around you on the ride of a lifetime.
13. The ESTP (or as we call this type: ‘The Showman’)
The ESTP type is the type most likely to never slow down. They can’t plan for anything because anything could, and possibly will happen. They’re in the moment all the time and brilliant at observing people. This makes them great sales people and great deal makers, and they have a healthy does of charm that’s likely to make even the most difficult of us keen to go along with their plan – because they will be so enthusiastic about it. Of all the Emyth types I’d say The Entrepreneur is the best fit for the ESTP. They just need to make sure that they then follow through on the exciting dreams and deal making and have someone on team to make sure their enthusiasm in the moment translates into a bigger picture that will get them to where they want to be going.
14. The ISTP (or as we call this type: ‘The Secret Agent’)
When I see an ISTP I can’t help thinking of ‘Bond, James Bond’. They’re independent, they’re smooth, they’re mysterious, they generally like to take on tasks alone and gosh darn it, they’ll do it well. They may also break all the rules while they’re doing it. The role an ISTP is most likely to feel out of place with would be The Manager because people just get in the way of getting things done. They’ll be The Technician… but they’re likely to do it their way, not anyone else’s (Think of how many times Bond gets in trouble with M for violating one rule of another). Ultimately, the ISTP is likely to make a big impact, but they’ll probably do it alone and they’ll do it on their own terms.
15. The ISFJ (or as we call this type: ‘The Caregiver’)
The ISFJ is probably most comfortable in The Technician or Manager roles. These types are just a giant hug on legs, and if there’s anything that will make those around them happier, healthier or more comfortable, they’ll do it. And they’ll do it without hesitation or complaint. They’re great at anticipating the needs of others and bringing people together in cohesive teams to create positive experiences for all. If there’s any time they’re likely to switch into The Entrepreneurial/Visionary role I’d say it’s when one of their own has been hurt (You do not want to mess with an ISFJ’s loved ones). In these instances the ISFJ can be a great defender of the people and you may see a fire lit in their belly as they go into battle to right a wrong or overturn an injustice that they just don’t think anyone should have to stand for.
16. The ESFJ (or as we call this type: ‘The Humble Host’)
When I think of the ESFJ I think of that host at a party who you don’t see the whole evening because they’re magically floating about behind the scenes making sure everything is ‘just so’ and the night goes off without a hitch. These types are brilliant at connecting people and bringing disparate groups of people together, making everyone feel comfortable, welcome and like a cohesive whole. They’re likely to be able to fill the role of The Technician without any trouble but where they will shine is when they step into their Managers power, with just a hint of The Entrepreneur to rule their kingdom with a fair but firm hand.