It was in elementary school where learning my numbers was reinforced by connect-the-dot pictures on a page. I remember connecting the dots of a turkey around Thanksgiving and presents under a tree before Christmas break. But what does connecting-the-dots have to do with personal productivity or performance improvement?
This isn’t just a quaint post that draws us nostalgically back to our primary age years of naps on a mat and milk and carrot snacks in the afternoons. The other day I heard an individual use the connect-the-dots analogy to describe two types of workers: those who connect dots and those who draw dots. Dot drawers are those who have a proclivity to strategic thinking, those who set the vision and communicate the “why’s” of what an organization is doing. Dot connectors are those who implement the vision and strategy outlined by those drawing the dots. Are you a dot-drawer or a dot-connector? Do you like drawing the dots, or connecting the dots.
These are serious questions as we consider what type of professionals we currently are, and seek to become. What do you spend most of your day doing in the world of work. Is that by design? Is it because that is what you like to do? What projects, meetings, and assignments are you naturally drawn to during the day, week, month? Are you comfortable communicating vision? Do you hate not knowing if you made a difference in your industry or a dent in your inbox? These are all questions to help you get to the heart of what type of worker you are.
I never had the opportunity to draw the dots in elementary school (at least not that I can recall). And while connecting the dots to reveal the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Marie on Columbus day was fun, I am pretty sure I would have been great at creating those worksheets.