Do You Get Things DONE or Get THINGS Done?

So, very predictably for HR, my personality type is ENFJ. And if you agree with Laurie Reuttimann, then Myers-Briggs certainly isn’t the be all and end all. But I find it really does help to understand motivations.
I’m not sure if it’s because of a certain letter in Myers-Briggs or if it’s just a certain combination of letters. However, I see a distinct difference between personalities in the way they ‘get things DONE’ and ‘get THINGS done’. One is about ticking off that to-do list at any cost, and the other is about meeting that outcome.

For Example
An ENTJ (the executive) and an ENFJ (the giver) watch this video and both think “I wanna do that!” 

Neither of them actually aspire to be a professional piano player, but they would like to achieve the goal of playing this piece.

So the ENTJ goes away for a few hours, and comes back playing this:

For an ENTJ, they nailed it!

Then the ENFJ goes away, gets a teacher, practices an hour every day, does an exam every year for 8 years, learns musical theory, and after around 13 years of playing, comes back with this:

You see? Totally different ends of the spectrum on getting things DONE (got the tune, finished), and getting THINGS done (becoming an excellent player).

But what if they met in the middle?
The ENTJ would actually acquire a skill, not just a crude form of exploiting the piano instrument for sound, if they were to aim for proficiency. And the ENFJ would have felt like they achieved something, not just wasted years of their life on a skill that doesn’t actually contribute to their life goals, if they were to aim for ‘good enough’.
Because there is a point where both types of do-ers can compromise on their ultimate goals and meet each other in a powerful way. It’s that point where getting it done is better than doing it perfectly, and it certainly is a start in the right direction.
Knowing where that point is, and working towards it is the only way to make hard changes. Think about rights being given to minorities – slowly and steadily minorities will petition for the little changes and arrive at the big. Think about society’s expectation of fathering – it’s still awkward as hell for fathers to take their young daughters to public toilets, but paternity leave is becoming widely practiced. Think about media portrayals of domestic abuse – it’s not a comedy catchphrase of “bam, zoom, straight to the moon” anymore, but we also have come-back stories of punks like Chris Brown.
So where ever you are in the spectrum of Getting Things Done, I hope you’re able to cheer for those meeting in the middle. It’s not a cop-out, and it’s not waste of time. It’s making progress – something that is definitely worth copping out for and wasting time on.
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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  • 14 May 2013