Are you an Explorer or a Settler?
As I neared the conclusion of an exciting Expedition for which the Exploration Group had been commissioned, I knew it was time for me to move on. But I wanted to hold on to the experience. It had been an amazing endeavor. I was frustrated because we had discovered everything we hoped for, and I did not want it to be over. But it was time to end, although not for everybody, just for me, the Explorer. The Settlers were staying, and I envied them.
Sometimes I just want to be a Settler for a little while.
Settlers go to a place and they stay there. They stick around to cultivate and enjoy the fruits of the land. They stay through the seasons and stages and phases. Businesses and organizations are the same way. The Settler works through the cycles, seeing what happened before, what is happening again and preparing for the future, understanding the relationships between all of them.
And sometimes Settlers want to go and explore for little while. They want the Explorer’s adventure.
Both Explorers and Settlers need each other. The Explorer’s skills bring about change. They seek what is new and bring it to everyone else. The Settler’s skills provide continuity. They grab hold of the new change and institutionalize it for the good of the community.
Here, I think, lies both the fundamental difference and the fundamental need for both Explorers and Settlers.
The Settler provides continuity. They are there for the cycles of an organization. They provide the stability that allows an institution to be built and last. The Explorer seeks what's new. They bring about change and take an organization from status quo to where it needs to be next. Without the Explorer the potential for stagnation is great.
It doesn’t mean Settlers don’t want exploration, or that Explorers don’t want to settle down. We see the opposite is true. They want what the other has, just not all the time! A perfect relationship.
Within your organization, do you have Explorers? Do you have Settlers? Who are they? Do you have the right mix of each? Both are necessary for the vibrancy of your organization.
I’ve unpacked this idea a little more in my blog Settlers, Explorers and Brokers.