Two types of people
Vilfredo Pareto, the economist best known for publicising the 80/20 principle, made this useful distinction. There are two types of people:
- the speculator, constantly preoccupied with new possibilities, new combinations of existing things;
- the rentier, concerned with continuity, preservation of order, predictability and consistency.
Any organisation of course needs some of both of these types of people, and needs them in the right proportions. Too many rentiers, and the organisation becomes an ossified bureaucracy (think of General Motors until recently). Too many speculators, and you have the organisational equivalent of attention deficit disorder – a new strategy every three months, fifty things started and none finished.
Here is the question: what is the right proportion for your organisation? How does that compare with what you actually have?
And here’s another question: when times get tough, does the proportion need to change? And if so, in what way? My view is that tough times need more speculators, but what do you think ?