Identify personalities

Zach Aldwin Milkshake in the Boardroom
Are you a climber or a builder? That is a good question to ask yourself today. In any organisation you find those who are willing to build it up and make it great and those who are just looking to get to the top as fast as possible.

Builders look to setting a solid foundation. They know that any height achieved is going to rest on what is put in at the bottom; solid values, great product, healthy company culture.

Climbers of the corporate ladder do not really care if the organisation fails because by then they will have jumped ship to somewhere else that suits their needs.

A builder is concerned with leaving something of value behind when they move on.

For the climber it is all about the conquest and glory he can achieve. For the climber winning a bright and shining battle is far more important than winning the long term war.

Both builders and climbers are talented people. Climbers use their talent to propel them forward. These are the “what is in it for me” type of people.

Builders use their talent for the benefit of not just themselves, but for the organisation.

Builders integrate with a team. They work with people to develop them because as the team grows so does their prospect for success.

Think of building a house; you need the skills and inputs of others to help you actually do it.

You may be able to put up walls but you need a plumber, an electrician, and a roofing specialist to help you build something great. A builder needs and engages others.

A climber may use others but only as stepping stones to help them succeed. Relationships are short term and dispensable. Or course the climber cannot take you with him — you would be competition at the next level.

Here are a couple of ways help identify which category you may fall into.

Builders solve problems; climbers look for someone else to blame.

Climbers expect something in return for helping someone else; builders help because they are adding value.

Climbers withhold information from others because it gives them an edge-even if it is to the detriment of the organisation.

A climber at the top stops others from joining him as he feels there is little space at the top of the ladder.

The climber looks down at people below him as subservient.

A climber will abuse the skills of any builders below him-probably to the point where their loyalty can no longer stand to be in such a working environment.

Where you lie in this regard is simply a matter of heart. Climbers can, in the short term, masquerade as a builder.

They may even con themselves into believing that they are builders. Sooner or later their behaviour will give them away. It becomes evident to those around them, especially to their superiors, that they are simply in it for their own gain.

What you are creating as you go will have consequences in the long term. Height is still achievable as a builder.

A ladder can only really go so high; it is dwarfed by a skyscraper.

Ladders are narrow with little room on each step; even a single level house has more room, and accommodates more.

A ladder is open to the elements and has no protection (you need to bring your own umbrella and only have space to open it at the top). A building has a roof that keeps you warm and dry.

Commit today to leaving the climber mentality behind. Prune it from your life and engage in building wherever you find yourself. What would you want in the nation-builders or climbers? A bunch of people each chasing their own thing, leaving nothing for the next generation or a group of individuals working together to create something great that goes far beyond themselves.

If you are looking for an example of building; two Zimbabweans, Mike Johnson and Murray Faber, are part of a crew trying to break the world record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic in a rowing boat. At the same time they are using the endeavour as a charity fund raiser for local needs.

They are rowing in two hour shifts for 30 days having started February 26, you can look them up and follow their progress online. Such an endeavour takes incredible teamwork, preparation and training. All the best guys and God speed.

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