Skip to main content

No, no, no, I am not talking about the me, me.  I’m talking about the euphemistic me. You know, the me that represents the whining CEO, complaining to the me, me about the fact that a member of their team lacks something or other.

So calm down haters! You can’t transpose the Me in the title with Glen. It’s not Why Don’t They Think Like Glen, and therefore answers like: ”Because they’re human,” or “because they have a filter,” or “they’re on their medication”  don’t count. The me of this me is not an invitation to bash the me, me because this me in the title represents you so you’re only bashing you. Now do we have that straight and may I continue?

One of the most common things I hear in a coaching session is why aren’t they like me? Why don’t they feel the urgency? Why aren’t they creative? Why don’t they take ownership? Why don’t they care?

The answer….. that they’re not you and that’s a good thing for many reasons.

Let me start with a lesson from an old James Kirkwood novel, Good/Times Bad Times. In the book, Kirkwood’s character explains that human attributes are like the big box of Crayola Crayons. You know, the one that the rich kid down the street had with 72 colors while we only had the eight-crayon box. Well, humans don’t get all 72 colors. We’re like the small box of 8 crayons, and we all get our own set of different crayons in our box.

Now you CEOs pretty much get a small range of colors. Maybe you select your eight from a 14-color sub-set of the big box. Some of the crayons may define things like:

  • Pace – are you fast-paced, or methodical and patient
  • Introvert/Extrovert – do you get your energy from people or things
  • Perfectionist – are you a perfectionist or satisfied with good enough
  • Creativity – are you imaginative
  • Adaptability – the ability to go against your normal traits for a long period of time

To further complicate things, colors come in different shades… for instance, the fast-paced crayon may be bright orange or burnt orange. These traits are not binary; people sit somewhere on a spectrum.

Now here’s the beauty of this system….. it takes all kinds of people to build a company. If you built a company around a group of people with the same eight crayons, your company would likely have problems. For instance, if you’re all about getting as much good enough stuff done and you suck with details, then who will do your accounting?  If you’re turned on by solving new puzzles and tackling new challenges every day, who will be motivated by making all those repetitive, by the numbers, cold calls because they’re turned on by commissions and not problem-solving? If you were a baseball team and everyone was a right-handed pitcher, who will cover the short-stop position? Who will be the clean-up batter?

Lastly, if that person was just like you…… then they will start their own company and maybe even compete with you. There’s a reason you hired them; hopefully, that wasn’t to do all the things you should be doing. There’s a reason they work for you, and you don’t work for them. That reason? Because they’re not like you.

The lesson, it’s good that your team is not a box of 72 green crayons. You probably don’t want every crayon from the big assorted box, like you might want to leave the slime-ball crayon out of your pallet, yet, you can create an incredible work of art with a large pallet of varying colored crayons.  So go make art with the crayons that you have.

Want to talk about your crayon box in a coaching session? Schedule a complimentary session here.