Leadership Tactic #79: Knowing Exactly What Kind of a Teammate You Are


I don’t think I’ve ever been excited about team dynamics until last Thursday, when I learned that there might actually be a formula to forming and maintaining an amazing team.

I’m going to write a little about this now and a little about this later. But if you don’t read another word, please take 10 seconds to click here and fill out this three-question Google Form (it’s also embedded on this page after the entry. It will assess exactly who you are in a team, and I’ll share the results next week. You don’t have to give me your name or contact info, but I’d love to have it in case I want to reach out to people in one of the categories.

Before I continue, I need to give full credit to Inscape-Epic, who invented the Team Dimensions test and assessment. It’s an amazing tool for teams, and I highly recommend you shell out the $20/employee and then talk about the results as a group.

So, the thing I’m really excited about is you can vastly improve your workflow process as a team. Not only that, but if you’re starting a new company, you could choose your team based on this assessment.

Basically, Team Dimensions claims that there are four types of people: creators (which means “creative types,” not people who actually want to create things), advancers, refiners, and executors. You can see longer descriptions of each category on the form below.

The key is that you want people in each of the categories, and you want to avoid overlap when necessary. For example, I’m a refiner who tends towards creators. Thus my instinct is to hone and refine ideas, but I’m also happy brainstorming ideas for a little bit. However, I share few qualities that excite the advancers. Advancers respond well to seeing how a few people feel about an idea, whereas the data I use to refine ideas must come from a greater pool of people. I want hard numbers, quantifiable data. So if you asked me to work with an advancer to poll people, it wouldn’t go well.

This knowledge could also be incredibly useful for startups. In a startup, you need each type of person on your team to optimize your product and workflow. I’ve experienced this most recently with Stonemaier Games, the company Alan Stone and I set up for Viticulture. Like I said, I’m a refiner/creator, and I have a hunch that Alan is too. Which is great when we brainstorm, because it’s a really focused kind of brainstorm. But we’re probably lacking in the advancer and executor categories. This doesn’t mean that we can’t actually execute a project; rather, it just means that we’d rather be refining than executing.

I think the results are going to be really interesting, so if you don’t think you’ll take the longer Team Dimensions test at the link above, just answer these questions by this Friday and I’ll discuss the results in two months.