Without getting too deep into the psychology behind this, I took a test called the Kolbe Index test years ago. The result was surprisingly liberating. It showed that I am naturally more creative than organized. In fact, my results reflected those of many successful entrepreneurs. We tend to attack our ideas quickly and aggressively and then leave it to the more organized people to clean it up.
The test also confirmed a basic, but subtle observation I’d made over the years of running martial arts school staff meetings and then later running larger, more complex meetings when I created NAPMA.
Here is what I noticed. There are some people who are simply not creative. They are more like accountants than inventors. There are also people who are not organized and tend to leave lots of loose ends. They are more like the crazy Dr. Emmett Brown from “Back to the Future.” Of course, this is a spectrum so you have extremes on both ends and then proportionate balances in between.
Here is why this is helpful. I learned that if I shared an idea or vision with an accountant type, they would attack it with questions about cost, scalability, feasibility etc… This type of person is very organized and wants everything in its own box. This is not the person you share visionary ideas with. They are about as creative as a thumb tack and are far more suited for organizing parts of a project than helping to create one.
When I proposed creating the National Association of Professional Martial Arts (NAPMA), it was, “You are going to sell your schools to create a martial arts business organization? You want to charge $99 a month to karate guys? Who would pay for that? How are you going to produce a monthly package with ads, life skills, marketing, managing, and selling info PLUS a video with three segments on it?”
With the American Council on Martial Arts (ACMA), it was, “Who is going to follow a universal standard for teaching when there are so many styles? Who made you king? This has been tried and failed a bunch of times…”
The most flack came when I proposed “Martial Arts Professional” magazine, the accountant types thought it was nuts. “You’re going to publish a full color magazine and distribute it to 26,000 schools for FREE? How are you going to pay for that? Who is going to write all the material? Who is going to read a martial arts magazine about business?”
What I learned was not to bring these types of people into the early meetings where there is just and idea and plenty of unanswered questions. There are too many “empty boxes” at this stage for them. These early visionary meetings or discussions have to be with people who are more on the creative side. The accountant types are helpful but not as much until you have a clearer picture to present once the project has more substance.
Had I let my accountants run my businesses, the first professional association, NAPMA, the first trade journal, MAPro, nor the first widely respected universal instructor training program ACMA would have ever happened. In stark contrast, my equipment company, IKON, was created at the suggestion of the accountant types and I foolishly believed their assertions that it was a good idea.
I realize now that products appeal to these kind of people more than ideas. Products are easily computed and projected. Lofty ideas like education, teaching standards, and universal best practice concepts were too ethereal for the “buy at $10, sell at $20” mindset.
The point of this is that it’s helpful for you to know what kind of person you are as well. Do you get a bit tense when a new idea is presented? Do you seek to find the holes in the vision rather than help fill them? Or are you an unorganized dreamer with tons of ideas and nothing to show for them? The world is full of great starters but it’s the 10% who follow a project through to the end that separates the best of us from the rest of us.
It’s important you know this because you want to balance your strengths and weaknesses with others. You need the visionaries and accountants to offset each other, just realize that each has a different way of looking and considering ideas. They are both helpful, but only in the context of their world view.