What is Your Entrepreneurial Personality Type: Mountain Climber, Freedom Fighter, or Master Craftsman?
We know that entrepreneurs are a different creed from the typical person. But why do some entrepreneurs run their businesses totally different from other entrepreneurs even if that company is in the exact same industry and location? How can two leaders convey the same message with very different results?
John Warrillow, author of “Built to Sell: Turn Your Business into One You Can Sell,” suggests it’s the way they’re wired. He recorded his research and findings on the psychographics of business owners in his body of work named, “The Value Builder System.” Warrillow described business owners from his research by categorizing them into three distinct psychographic profiles that define their motivation:
To begin understanding the type of business owner you are, Warrillow suggested simply looking for key traits in social and other settings. For example, check your business card title. Titles often give clues to primary motivations and the way a business owner perceives their roles. A “mountain climber” will call him or herself the founder, CEO or chairman, even if they only have a handful of people in their firm. The “freedom fighter” will often classify him or herself as the owner or president, while the craftsman may describe their profession or trade as a title.
Another quick check is to probe pain points. A mountain climber has a hard time identifying employees who live up to expectations since they project their own high expectations for themselves onto others. Warrillow offered Jeff Bezos as an example. Employees at Amazon have historically lasted only 18 months on average. Why? The turnover trend at Amazon trickles down from the very top and out through managers to the entire employee base, according to Warrillow. A freedom fighter would differ in that he or she may tend to cultivate more so-called dead wood since keeping a nonproductive employee is more acceptable in an environment where topline revenue goals and threshold aspirations are not as important as having an independent or ideal company that may include family members. Mastery/craftspeople are the most risk averse and don’t tend to take on many employees.
“Mountain climbers will often have several businesses at once, or a portfolio of companies listed in their history since achievement defines who they are,” states Warrillow. “A freedom fighter is one who is more prone to run the same company for many years. Craftspeople may have a pattern of being in and out of the economy in synch with the employment rate.”
I believe that it’s important for entrepreneurs to know their personality types for several reasons including developing mastery in breaking through resistance or barriers that they themselves may have created. Let’s take the case of entrepreneurs raising equity for their companies. Mountain climbers will have to share equity to fund growth and will tend to create a complex capital structure. Warrillow noted, “Freedom fighters want independence, and will generally avoid sharing equity at all costs since sharing equity is nearly the opposite of how they are wired.”
To know your company and where it is going, it is best for the entrepreneur to know himself or herself. The success of his company depends on it.