Normal managers are like normal human beings, as studied and ratified by the one and only Abraham Maslow. Maslow’s normal human being is a simple algorithmic mix of his or her subconscious positioning in what he defined as the pyramid of the Hierarchy of Needs. The normal ‘me’ or ‘I’ is nothing but a Maslow’s (pyramid) prisoner – a prisoner of his un-gratified needs. He sees, recognises, learns, acts and behaves as motivated by his un-gratified needs. The gratified needs, if any are hardly of any consequence other than lifting up the individual to perceive, feel and be driven by hitherto unfelt needs.
Normal Managers are nothing but normal humans. They see what they do not have, do not possess but exists already. Just the knowledge that others have something that they do not, makes them desire (quite understandably) or wish to achieve the same. Hence, what already exists is what normal managers go hunting for, not something that is yet to be explored, discovered, understood or created, while we keep ranting about the need for innovation, creativity in search for sustainability or growth. Normal managers like any other role player in the society, Tariq, Daniela or Hari are busy executing planned projects against predicted deadlines for achieving similar results that have already been achieved by a few others.
But, then we always have a few who have this disturbing HaTaCs of dreaming about the future. They have this disconcerting habit of never being satisfied with what has to be achieved instead get immersed in what could be attained. They are these incorrigible lot who unwittingly shy away from what others have already achieved but dare to romanticise about what could be realised if something unknown, unforeseen or uncharted is attempted. They have this craziness about them that leads to a bit more than adding to the chaos all around. They abhor the plodding search for making the status quo more efficient and willingly get involved in what more is possible, what appears to most rather impossible. They dream and want to attain what only they can see in the vivid screen behind their open eyelids. They gather co-dreamers around them impassioned with the dream they see, not motivated by what others have achieved or are trying to. They do not have to be taught leadership, they are default practitioners of what others may discover or be taught as leadership.
While the ‘Achievers’ swarm like bees around the same flower competing with each other to get a bit more than the other, the ‘Attainers’ are busy discovering Xanadus, later to be found crawling with the Achievers in hordes. Achievers get competitors to live with while the Attainers develop a community of collaborators. Competition breeds negative emotions like jealousy, hatred, guile, caprice and stress. Collaborators create a sense of belonging, camaraderie, purpose and happiness. Competitors are in the business of outwitting the other, in a frenzy to get the biggest share of the market; while collaborators are in the game of learning from each other, raising the bar for the entire community to attain the same purpose. The competitors eventually try to outlast each other and tire themselves to death, while the collaborators enjoy the fun of growing together to attain their vision and stay married to their mission. Achievers expend their energy to defeat others; they are perennially in the middle of skirmishes, battles or war. Attainers instead generate new energy from togetherness and fun as they are volitional in their pursuits, not motivated by the need for comparative supremacy.
Success is what the Achievers are after and they are always in a hurry. You can see them scurrying for the fast track, the sweet pill or whatever hangs low but others are trying to get, hence has to be achieved. You need them surely for improving productivity and profitability that may last for few months or a year. But, to create, develop and implement something that others have not ventured into, you need the Attainers. They create competitive advantage or entry barriers that make your organisation stand not only taller but different from other players in the same context. Achievers party after a success and may vanish with the rewards they earn in the bargain, while the Attainers celebrate success as a mere milestone and plough back in to the purpose all they have learned in the journey so far.
The Achievers can add to the bottom line for a quarter or a year at best, while the Attainers build value on your balance sheets. You need to motivate Achievers with the expectation of fulfilling a few more of their ungratified needs while the Attainers are in volitional pursuit of the purpose. They are motivated by the purpose not by what they can get in exchange. They are not deal makers, brokers or transactional experts. You need Competitors or Achievers to build a business to be sold later to the highest bidder. You build an organisation with Attainers who build collaborators to keep building the organisation.
You may need hundreds of Achievers to manage a better annual result or perk up the stock price. A few Attainers are enough to grow your enterprise for a few decades!
 Habits of Thinking & Action