Blog August 2019
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I Found my Productivity Style in Canada, Where Did You Find Yours?


Hi, my name is Cambria and I’m a Planner. I love a good list, I hate being late, I’m unable to focus if my physical space is in disorder, and I value process over possibility. Thanks to Carson Tate’s presentation at ASAE’s 2019 Executive Leadership Forum in Quebec City, I now have a name for my personal productivity style. After listening to Carson, I have a greater appreciation for my tendencies and how best to approach my colleagues and clients based on their personal productivity styles.

In Carson’s book, Work Simply, she identifies the four personal productivity styles, their characteristics, and provides guidance on the best tools and tactics to maximize your effectiveness based on your style. What I found most valuable from the session was how to better communicate with others based on their style. Let’s face it, we cannot get all of the work done on our own. We need a team of people and we need to understand how they work so that we can all work more effectively together to get the job done and done well.

So, you are probably curious now, what are the four personal productivity styles? First, we have the Prioritizers. They are analytical, linear, brief, and value process over people. Next we have the Planners (that’s me!). They love them some details! Planners need to understand the process of how work will get done and create action plans to follow suite. Third are the Arrangers. Arrangers are all about relationships and are keenly aware of the stakeholders in any project. They are highly visual, they value people over process, and they despise being rushed. Finally, we have the Visualizers. Visualizers are big picture people who are able to synthesize disparate ideas. They are adrenaline junkies who work best under pressure of a deadline and they value possibility over process. Which one are you? Take the assessment at to learn your style.

How have I used this new knowledge to work more effectively with my colleagues and clients? After I identified their personal productivity styles using the “Productivity Style Clues and Cues” chart within Work Simply, I began communicating with them based on their style. For example, I quickly identified one colleague as a Prioritizer based on their direct one or two sentence emails with no greetings or salutations. They need the information immediately from you to complete their tasks. Now, when I work with this colleague, I strive to give them the “what” immediately: the budget, the deadline, the deliverable.

Next, I leveraged their productivity style strengths to not only complete tasks but to provide more opportunities for them to work on tasks they enjoy. Working with my team, I found opportunities for a colleague identified as an Arranger to increase their engagement in meeting planning. In these tasks, our colleague is able to collaborate with the team to find meeting venues that meet all stakeholder’s needs. They not only build relationships internally, but are building relationships with venues and sales reps to find opportunities for all stakeholders to achieve their goals.

Finally, I was able to leverage my productivity style to more fully contribute to McKenna Management’s high performing team. Using my Planner strengths, I am able to breakdown complex projects into bite-sized tasks. This strength allows me to easily delegate tasks amongst the team to level the workload while completing projects in a timely manner. This also allows me to breakout tasks and assign them to the team based on their personal productivity style and strengths. I can assign the stakeholder interface tasks to Arrangers, ask Visualizers to innovate stagnant programs, and set Prioritizers loose to accomplish complex projects within a short timeframe.

I invite you to read Carson Tate’s Work Simply to find your personal productivity style and unapologetically proclaim yourself as a Prioritizer, a Planner, an Arranger, or a Visualizer. Then take the time to analyze your team and your clients to find their style to create more effective working relationships. Oh no! My Planner tendencies are showing, I’m giving you a step-by-step process to follow! You do you, and, as Carson says, “embrace your Productivity Style!”

Cambria Happ, MPA, CAE is an Executive Director at McKenna Management, Inc. She brings 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector including association management, higher education, and museums. Her professional areas of expertise are governance, association management systems, membership and business operations. Cambria is a Certified Association Executive (CAE). She holds a Master of Public Administration Degree (4.0 GPA) and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from The George Washington University.