*This first post in a four-part series is about a Pioneer (one of four Business Chemistry types), how the wrong work environment kills his potential, and what could be done about it. Read posts two, three and four in the series, about a Guardian, a Driver, and an Integrator, respectively (which are tagged #BCstories).
Last year, a Pioneer–let’s call him Jack—was being lauded by his company for boldly departing from convention and leading his business unit to new heights of innovation. Shortly thereafter, Jack got a new boss. Before their first in-person meeting, his boss asked him to put together a plan for the upcoming year. And populate a detailed template. In a spreadsheet. With multiple pivot tables and complex macros.
Jack, a consummate Pioneer, put off completing it as long as he could; he didn’t have a particular aversion to numbers, but he felt they missed the bigger point of his ideas. Not to mention how his eyes would cross and his mind would wander every time he looked at row upon row of inputs and outputs and compounding variables. If he could have used a tool to visualize the data that would have helped. He finally got it done just in time for the meeting, but the process sucked the life out of him.
On the day of the meeting, Jack entered his boss’s office relieved to have the whole spreadsheet ordeal behind him and ready to brainstorm possibilities for the year. But he barely began to wax enthusiastically when his boss shut him down with the words, “Let’s just walk through the template, shall we?” And they did. Line by line. Cell. By. Cell. And at every stop his boss would question the numbers, the assumptions, the formatting. Every time Jack would ask her to “imagine this” or “picture that” she would simply sit there with a grim expression, whereas she positively lit up when she found a rounding error!