Pioneers: How to spot one and what to do about it


A few days ago I wrote about how to know a Driver when you see one, as well as a few tips for working with them. In this second post of the series I offer the same kind of perspective about Pioneers. After all, Business Chemistry wasn’t developed for introspection, it was developed for action!

Spotting a Pioneer

Pioneer motto: Have fun. It’s just work.

More than anything, a Pioneer can be recognized by their spontaneity and penchant for brainstorming.

As the most extroverted of the four types, Pioneers are also energetic and expressive, and have broad networks and collaborative styles. They adapt easily to change and like to jump in and lead the charge toward new horizons.

When it comes to decision-making, Pioneers don’t belabor it. They tend to make quick decisions going with their gut, have a high tolerance for ambiguity and risk, and aren’t afraid to change their minds.

Tips for Working with a Pioneer

To keep a Pioneer engaged, consider avoiding too much structure, process, repetition, limits and when possible, the word “no.”

More specific advice depends on your own type.

If you’re a Driver, you and a Pioneer may find a groove by exploring new approaches and experimenting together. You can help bolster the ideas you co-create by providing the facts to support them, but be careful not to go too deep into logic–Pioneers are more interested in possibility. You may also need to be cautious about being overly direct and/or trying to run the show. Pioneers are very collaborative but also like to be in charge and bristle against feeling controlled.

If you’re an Integrator, you and a Pioneer could be great collaborators as you both value working closely with others. You may also enjoy thinking big together, but don’t forget to address critical details, something neither of you is likely to do naturally. And you might need to pick up the pace, as Pioneers like to move quickly and they may feel impatient with your tendency to consider things more thoroughly.

If you’re a Guardian, you’ll likely have to stretch more than a little to capture a Pioneer’s interest. Try to focus more on ideas than facts. Take a deep breath and let go of your need for structure, process, and rules. Don’t be too quick to dismiss the Pioneer’s big ideas, even if they seem impractical. Since there are likely to be many ideas bouncing around, explore them, consider them, and help the Pioneer home in on those that are most realistic.

If you’re a Pioneer yourself, you and another Pioneer just might come up with the next world-changing idea together. You may also get very little accomplished if you’re not careful! Have fun brainstorming together, feed off each others’ energy, and revel in your mutual sky’s-the-limit approach. But remember to bring things back to earth to think about implementation.

Pioneers out there, any other advice?

Read the other posts in this series, on Integrators, Drivers, and Guardians. Subscribe to be sure you don’t miss future posts!

Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)
Dr. Suz is the LCC’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together.
Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem

This publication contains general information only, and none of the member firms of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, or their related entities (collective, the “Deloitte Network”) is, by means of this publication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this publication.
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30 thoughts on “Pioneers: How to spot one and what to do about it

      1. I was wondering why pioneers aren’t able to own both the mention of statistic and the inmagination and big vision? I mean, what will happen if you combine these personalities together? Or, are people born to be so?


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