The Explorer’s Explorer

It’s awesome to meet someone who talks about their life experience so clearly their true Role is unmistakable.

If you are used to thinking of ‘Role’ as a person’s job title or function, then let me explain. Every kind of organization has overarching needs – a reason for being, a plan for the future, a means for surviving and growing, and so on. Most people have within them a desire to contribute to their group – their ‘team’ – by serving one or more of these big-picture needs. Some people are not very much aware of it, but for those who are, it can feel very much like their mission in life. This is what I mean when I speak of Role with a capital ‘R’.

One of those Roles is called the Explorer. It’s somewhat unusual, because where most Roles are focused on what’s going on within the team, Explorers are always looking – and often traveling – away from the group, in search of assets that can be of value to their team. Think of someone you know who does this kind of thing. They could be search consultants, salespeople, business developers, or researchers. All are ‘treasure hunters’ of a sort.

Explorers can be very good with people, but their ‘mission’ makes them seem like loners. And because of their outward-bound experience, they are often more comfortable on their own than in the midst of group activity. So despite the fact that they serve a essential group need, Explorers often feel they are not a ‘team’ person. And, unfortunately, they can also be perceived that way by their own teammates, who may not show proper respect for what the Explorer ‘brings to the table.’

What happens then? They tend to go off in search of a more appreciative group! Many an organization has failed to see the great value of an effective Explorer until too late.

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Here are three keys to ‘teaming’ well with an Explorer:

  1. Take note of what they bring back,
  2. Make an effort to understand its potential value to the organization, and,
  3. Take time to affirm that value, and to express appreciation for it.

When this happens, an Explorer will really ‘feel the love,’ and will redouble his or her efforts on behalf of the team.

A great modern-day Explorer, Matthew Lesko, was at my office today to interview me (as an entrepreneur) and Lynn Ozer, my SBA banker at Susquehanna Bank. You may know Matthew as the ‘Answer Man’ – the guy who’s been finding and telling people about sources of free and useful stuff for well over 30 years. He’s pretty unforgettable, even aside from his brightly-colored suits, which are covered with question marks. Fitting, since he brings answers with real educational and monetary value.

Need a school loan or scholarship? He can help. Starting a business? Matthew has a whole website for that. Trying to survive in a down economy with no job? Matthew feels your pain and supplies information about public and private sources of food, heat, shelter, education, and on and on. But he’s not going to sit by your side and hold your hand for hours. He serves his team by assembling and presenting his ‘finds’ in ways that help you make your own life, or business, better.

I’ll be posting the link to today’s interview as soon as it’s available, but in the meantime, you might want to check out www.lesko.com. Don’t think of it as a place where all of the exploring has already been done. That’s not the case at all! Matthew is such a *master* Explorer that he’s assembled a veritable treasure trove of information. It’s more than enough to keep a person of any Role busy – even a fledgling Explorer – wandering in fields of gold.

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