Opposites in the C-Suite- Innovators and Implementers

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The most successful companies have a balance of two types of leaders in the c-suite: Innovators and Implementers.

Innovators come up with fantastically large ideas that challenge the status quo and drive progress.

Implementers make things happen.

Even though Innovators and Implementers are both essential to the success of a company, they frequently have a hard time working together. They don’t always see eye to eye and may have conflicts or misunderstandings simply because of their individual styles! When Innovators and Implementers can learn how to work and leverage each other’s strengths and weaknesses, the seemingly impossible can be made into a reality.

Enter Walt and Roy Disney

Let’s take a look at the creation of Walt Disney World – this is a perfect example of how opposite personalities in the c-suite can lead to unfathomable success.

We are all familiar with Walt Disney – the man who had a dream, and used it to create one of the most successful businesses in the world. We are not so familiar with Roy Disney.

Roy was Walt’s older brother and a top financial executive of Walt Disney World. He was the man who built Walt Disney World without a cent of debt. He devoted most of his time to his area of expertise: finance, escalating costs, labor challenges, and fundraising the four hundred million dollars needed to complete the largest private construction project in the world!

“Walt had this idea (for Walt Disney World)” Roy told reporters. “My job all along was to help Walt do the things he wanted to do. He did the dreaming. I did the building.”

Roy was the numbers guy. He had the hard skills which we value in the c-suite. But as talented as Roy was, if it hadn’t been for Walt, Walt Disney World would not have been the enormous success that it is today.

The key to the Disney’s success was that each leader recognized his strengths and his weaknesses. Walt didn’t try to do the numbers. He knew that he his role was to push the limit with his creativity. Roy didn’t try to be innovative. He knew that his role was to logically determine how to make Walt Disney World actually happen. Both Walt and Roy respected the other and valued his ideas and recommendations. They understood that they were both essential to the creation of Walt Disney World.


Think about the c-suite in your company. Do the Innovators understand how valuable the Implementers are to the success of the company and vise-versa? Relationships based on mutual respect throughout the c-suite will foster an atmosphere that benefits all of the leaders in your company.

Great leaders know their strengths and weaknesses and make it a point to find partners whose strengths complement their weaknesses. Do you know if you are an Innovator or an Implementer? Take this short quiz from Free the Idea Monkey to find out.

Idea Monkeys are artists, inventors, engineers, and scientists. They are dreamers and believers. They are also curious, hardworking, and grateful. For you, everything is possible and every challenge is merely an idea waiting to happen. A (Ring)leader knows how to awaken and manage an Idea Monkey. A committed (Ring)leader ensures laser focus to make sure only the best ideas survive. (Ring)leaders also know how to lead, nurture, encourage, and seize opportunity…so, if you’re a Walt (idea monkey), find a Roy (ring leader) to help you implement your ideas. If you’re Roy, go find a Walt!

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