The 3 Types of Work

There are 3 Types of Work:




SwedishDragonboat, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Technical work is doing all the things.
It’s treating patients, brewing beer, making coffee, cooking meals, running pipes, fixing cars or whatever the primary thing is that your business does. This is the thing that you are really good at and it’s at the heart of why you started your business. You weren’t satisfied with the way things were getting done where you were. So you committed to a better way. 

The Managerial work is making sure things get done.
It’s making sure all of your players know their plays and have what they need to thrive. It’s defining the plays, putting the right players in the right positions, and having a consistent way to support them and help them to continually improve.
Ideally this is done in a supportive way to help your players be the best they can be. We are not fans of “enforcement” and playing traffic cop in management. The carrot is more powerful than the stick.

The Entrepreneurial work is deciding what gets done. 
It’s deciding on the direction, the purpose, and the values you will abide by and pursue. And it’s getting all of that out of your head and into the heads of your team. It’s designing the plays and deciding which ones get run. And by the way, that committing to a better way that got you started in your business? That’s entrepreneurial work. Nice job!

Michael Gerber talks about these 3 types of work in his book The E-Myth Revisited. He says that being good at the Technical work and never learning how to do the other 2 is why 90% of businesses fail.


Why the Dragon Boat?

I like the Dragon Boat because it so clearly shows the 3 types of work.

The paddlers are doing the Technical work.

The drummer is doing the Managerial.

And the sweep (or captain) is doing the Entrepreneurial work. 

Imagine a boat not being steered. Where does it go? Or a boat without someone on the drum who made sure everyone had a paddle and vest before they started. How well would the paddlers work together?

Is that your business? Are you down with the paddlers 100% of the time?

The good news is that you do not need to be in the other 2 seats all the time. You just have to be there some of the time. Hence the 2 hours a week promise on the home page. 

And when you spend a little time in each of the other seats each week, when you’ve figured that out and do it consistently, your boat will go straighter, faster, and with a happier crew. 


That’s ultimately what I do. I help founders who want to learn, who talk straight, and who want the best for their players and their customers, to learn and implement the other 2 types of work. If you want to figure that out 3 times faster than on your own, reach out. Let’s talk.


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