In almost any field of endeavour, you are going to come across four different types of people. Your project may be some form of project implementation for your company. It could be that you have a creative idea for an advertising client. Or you may just want to go back to university to complete a degree. But no matter your focus, you will have to deal with walkers, talkers, stalkers and baulkers. In some cases these people will be your boss, or a member of your staff. They may be parents or friends.
But whether you like it or not, you need to figure out a way of dealing with each type. Let’s take a look at their characteristics.
|Type||Description||How to help them|
|Walkers||You want the Walkers on your project. They deliver. They understand the terminology and the goals and they know how to achieve outcomes.||Because the Walkers are so busy resolving issues, achieving outcomes and so on, they may not communicate “up” as much as is necessary. Add regular communications into their mix of KPIs.|
|Talkers||The talkers are evangelistic. They are great at the start of a project, picking up the terminology and the ideas and transmitting them to others.||The Talkers are often purists which means that they are sometimes unwilling to compromise. Help them see the win-win outcome – but also push them to move from “talk” to “walk”.|
|Stalkers||The vast majority of the population are Stalkers. They will watch from a distance but don’t personally commit. They won’t get in the way but they won’t participate either. The Stalkers will often do a great job – but will only do as they are instructed.||Inertia is the domain of the Stalker. You can use the Talkers to engage and activate these folks. You can point towards the Walkers as aspirational role models, but the challenge is in building momentum.|
|Baulkers||The Baulkers are the intransigent group. They may be active detractors or simply explain all the reasons why your project will not succeed. They can sometimes feign support but will often move back to an inert or negative position very quickly.||The Baulkers have the power of negativity on their side. As we generally don’t like change, the Baulker appeals to our risk averse natures. They discredit the ideas underpinning your project and those who support them. Leave them in a room with a Talker.|
Any long term project success requires the activation of all four of these types. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to change these people. They won’t change for you.
But they may change their opinion of your project.
Take the time to understand the motivations of each of these types and play to their strengths and weaknesses. It is about playing the person, not the project.
Working with the people will deliver your project – but focusing only on the project will more deeply entrench the positions of the Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and Baulkers. Your challenge is to create movement between the categories – and the best way to do that is activate their talents.
Give it a try, you might just find you succeed wildly.