“Stressing output is the key to improving productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite”, noted the French post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin. Having produced more than 500 paintings in his 55 years of life, Gaugin clearly exemplified output focus at work. How does this compare to what’s going on in modern business?
Nowadays, countless businesspeople are frantically busy at work. Sadly, all too many of them forget that busy-ness doesn’t equate with productivity. Productivity is the quantity of output delivered in a certain amount of time (such as an hour, day, week, month or year). At the end of the day, business is about producing tangible results — of creating meaningful outputs that matter and which will make a positive difference.
But have you ever noticed that different types of people tend to be good at producing different kind of outputs? For example, salespeople who are good at closing deals are often poor in research. Geeks who first apply emerging new technologies and excel at forecasting trends tend to overlook important details when asked to organize a big event. Today, let’s understand with the help of TIPS why all of this is the case. So, who is good at producing what kinds of outputs? And what does this all mean for executives charged to enhance productivity and performance?
What is TIPS? And why can it help increase productivity and performance at work?
TIPS, Thinkergy’s innovation profiling system, uses the four TIPS bases (theories, ideas, people, systems, which are social attractor fields that energize people’s activities) and the four TIPS styles (to think, work, interact and live) to connect people to one of 11 TIPS profiles (or innovator types). Each TIPS profile has a unique talent combination that allows a person to work well and thrive in certain conducive environments.
When your work focus aligns to your natural talents, it is EEE (easy, effortless and enjoyable) for you to produce outstanding work outputs; your excellent productivity and performance results advance both your company and career. If you work in an environment that doesn’t suit your styles and talents, however, work often feels DDD (difficult, drudging, and de-energizing); even if you try very hard to do well, your outputs rarely go above average.
So, wouldn’t it be great if you knew which target outputs you should focus on producing to play out your natural talents and perform at your best? And if you’re a manager, wouldn’t it be great to improve productivity and performance by better aligning everyone’s work and output focus?
What target outputs should each TIPS profile focus on?
In the following, I propose a general “output category” that roughly outlines what kind of outputs each of the 11 TIPS profiles is best suited at producing. Then, I give you a few examples of how this can be translated into more concrete, tangible and —ideally— countable work outputs. Let’s explore one by one the primary output categories of each of the 11 TIPS innovator profiles. Thereby, on the TIPS Profiling Map, we move clockwise from top left along the four TIPS bases (Theories, Ideas, People, Systems):
- Theorists deduce theoretical, scientific and arithmetical outputs.
Of all the TIPS profiles, Theorists are the best at probing for evidence that reveals the truth. They enjoy verifying and advancing scientific theories; producing related research papers and academic books; writing code for computer programs, tech platforms and apps; creating new mathematical models; conducting complex statistical analysis, computing arithmetic solutions and deducing algorithms, among others.
- Conceptualizers conceive abstract, conceptual and forward-thinking outputs.
Conceptualizers are the best at transforming knowledge into new concepts and applied technologies. They like to come up with new conceptual models, methods and tools; conceive consulting blueprints and related tailored solutions; build big data analysis platforms to unveil deep-level insights; create business plans and new business models; plot out trend maps, strategic road maps, and future scenarios; and the like.
- Ideators create progressive, innovative and entrepreneurial outputs.
Among all the TIPS profiles, Ideators are the ones who most relish change. Little wonder that they enjoy creating daring ideas for disruptive new products, services, solutions, experiences and concepts; imagine bold new visions of a more meaningful future; and start and often lead new business initiatives and start-up ventures, among others.
- Promoters spin communicative, entertaining and inspirational outputs.
Being charismatic, lively and funny, Promoters are the best to create a buzz for something new — be it a product, a brand, or a new movement or campaign. As such, they relish comping up with fresh brand designs; creative promotional campaigns for both traditional media and modern social media; witty slogans and taglines; attractive marketing brochures and materials; talk-of-the-town PR strategies and activities; blog articles and social media posts; and the like. Moreover, they also love to be on stage to “MC” an event, pitch an idea, or deliver a keynote or a sales presentation, among others.
- Partners collaborate towards interpersonal, empathetic and deal-oriented outputs.
Partners are all about other people and relationships. Of all the TIPS profiles, they tend to have the biggest network of contacts and the most harmonious relationships. Hence, they enjoy talking to existing customers in face-to-face meetings or in making phone calls; calling on and converting new prospects; closing a sale or striking a deal, and such like.
- Organizers sweat out operational, detail-oriented and serviceable outputs.
Because they enjoy sweating the small stuff, Organizers are the best at getting things done. They enjoy producing concrete results day-by-day, be it manufactured articles; organized events; resolved customer service cases; processed and shipped orders, and so on.
- Systematizers plod towards producing systematic, procedural and efficient outputs.
Systematizers prefer producing outputs that add more structure to the backend of business, ensure procedural efficiency and compliance, and reliable performance of various organizational systems. As such, they focus on outputs like implemented and streamlined backend systems: redesigned business processes: executed compliance checks and reports; compiled rulebooks and compliance documents; performed performance checks and organizational restructuring; written performance reports and project reports, and the like.
- Technocrats scrutinize information to produce administrative, legal and financial outputs.
Among all the TIPS profiles, Technocrats most relish digging into and producing accurate financial accounts and reports, comprehensive legal texts, and administrative documents such as manuals, handbooks, administrative guidelines, as well as edited and revised texts of various kinds, among others.
- Coaches relay philosophical, humanistic and motivational outputs.
Coaches motivate humans to think, work, interact and live in better, more life-affirming ways. As such, their ultimate outputs are more enlightened human beings that —aligned to their natural talents— are able to better live up to their full potential. Outputs that Coaches produce en route to this noble goal include: motivational books, articles and other writings; personal and corporate value and mission statements; development goals and concrete action plans for individuals and teams; coaching calls and periodic progress assessments; and others.
- Experimenters tinker with things to produce reconfigured, debugged and (re-)designed outputs.
Compared to all other profiles, Experimenters have an obsession for taking things apart, to see what’s underneath the shiny surface, to notice bugs or things that can be improved, and then to end up with enhanced designs. So, they tend to come up with improved processes and fine-tuned systems; modified business models; redesigned and locally-adapted products and packagings; sketches, blueprints, mock-ups, and other prototypes; and the like.
- All-Rounders contribute to a multitude of diverse outputs.
Last but not least, All-Rounders are able to work well on whatever project or task ends up on their desks. Their primary talent is doing many things well, although their final outputs may be less intricate than if you assigned the work to a specialist in one of the other TIPS profiles.
It goes without saying that the list of specific target outputs for each TIPS profile is indicative only. The range of concrete outputs can vary heavily across a multitude of professions and work roles, business functions, industries and organizational types. So, ask yourself: How can you “translate” these general output categories and indicative output examples to your business and organization? What specific work outputs can you add to this list? And what TIPS profile is probably the best to produce each of those additional outputs?
How to better align talent and output focus?
Regardless of whether you’re managing individual performance for yourself, or as a manager for a team or business unit, or as a (Human Resources) executive for an entire organization, here are a few action tips on how to apply the aforementioned insights to boost productivity and performance of yourself, your people and your organization:
- Clarify the tangible work outputs that are connected to a role, business unit, or particular project.
- Get yourself and everyone else in your team or business unit TIPS-ed. Do the TIPS online test to reveal the TIPS profile of yourself and other members of your team. Then, map out and analyse the profile mix in your work team. Finally, think about how to best align yourself and your team for higher productivity.
- Take note of the primary and secondary target output categories of each profile. You’ve already learned that linked to your TIPS profile, you have a primary output category, which outlines those results and outcomes that you’re best at producing compared to other profiles. In addition, you also have at least two secondary output categories where you also tend to produce good outputs. You’ll find these supplementary output foci in the neighboring profiles that connect to your TIPS profile.
- Make everyone contribute in their “hotspot” or “sweat spots”. When assigning work tasks and projects as a manager to an individual or team, make sure that the activity fits the primary or one of the secondary output categories of the TIPS profiles of the people involved.
- Clarify and document the desired outputs for each person in a HR performance review meeting. What target outputs do you want each team member to focus on in the year ahead? Are they fully or at least largely aligned to person’s TIPS profile?
- Take note of how different output categories run on different time scales. The profiles sitting at the bottom of the TIPS Profiling Map (Partner, Organizer, Systematizer) tend to mostly focus on producing outputs that show a result immediately or in the short-term (such as a day, week or month). For a manager, it’s easy to measure performance and assess progress over the year for these “brawny” workers. In contrast, the ultimate work outputs of those profiles on top of the TIPS Profiling Map (Theorist, Conceptualizer, Ideator) often show only in the medium- to long-term (from a quarter to a few years).
Why is this? Well, it takes time to conduct outstanding research, develop a new-to-the-world technology, create a disruptive product, or get a new project initiative or start-up venture off the ground. As most corporate performance review cycles are annual, the ultimate results often take time to become noticeable. So, to avoid antagonizing those “brainy” workers, agree on interim performance and milestone outputs to assess the relative progress towards achieving the desired long-term target output.
Do you want to learn more about TIPS? Would you like find out more about our TIPS training for your organization? Or would you like us to help you in a TIPS consulting project define output categories for your organization, and then align your people to those categories that allow them to perform well? Contact us to tell us more about your needs, and we’re happy to help.
© Dr. Detlef Reis 2018