Sunday, September 25, 2011

Show Pony or Work Horse?

Are you a "Show Pony" or a "Work Horse?" Both of these types of people have pros and cons and most businesses need a mixture in both leadership and follwership of these types. What spells trouble is when a department or business becomes filled with only one type!

Show Ponies are known for their dazzling sense of panache, fashion and latest grasp of technology. They are often on the cutting edge and are trendsetters. In groups they often draw attention to themselves while highlighting their friends. Imagine that friend of yours that is always "on stage." Frequently concerned about appearances, the Show Pony likes to be part of a group that lavishes attention on them. They in turn become evangelists for those things which interest them. What is great about the Show Pony is the amount of energy they bring to any given venture. Their enthusiasm is infectious and before you know it, large groups of people a drawn to them like moths to a flame. Show Ponies are actually pertty easily bored, and if it isn't about them, they generally have the attention span of a fruit fly. They flit from concept to concept, group to group and fad to flash.

Work Horses on the other hand are plodding, deliberate, consistent and are highly stable. They tend to show up and get it done. They may not be innovative or insightful, but just keep working. They know they aren't the Show Pony and sometimes that may bother them. They often don't understand why more people don't see their value, after all, they do most of the work, right? Work Horses don't need an entourage and frequently disparage those they perceive as Show Ponies in private (often with other Work Horses), but secretly want the accolades that seem to come to the Show Pony. On the plus side, Work Horses rarely complain about tasks given to them and understand their own limitations far more quickly than others. They tend to be more mature in their decision-making and will admit to being wrong more easily than some.

There are two sub-breeds which are quite rare.

The Work Pony, is the individual who often has their reach exceed their grasp, much to their surprise. Often young and inexperienced (literally or mentally), they simply don't understand their own limitations and preconceptions. Many of us have already gone through this as a phase, but unfortunately for some of us, we never move beyond it.

Finally is the Show Horse. This type not only has the strength to get it done, they get it done in style. They lead by example, often perform the tasks that others think are "beneath them" and still manage to make it seem "cool." Many successful entrepreneurs I know fall into this category. They manage to just always seem to get it done and get it done in style.

I haven't come up with a test for this yet, but would be interested in your thoughts on it!

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