This is a question that has vexed me for years and I finally came across this wonderful analysis by Jordan Peterson. The classifications he has made are quite simple but the underlying factors are extremely complex. From the business/corporate perspective, entrepreneurial/creative types have a synonym. Innovators.
The problem with innovation though is it can only be a continual and not a continuous process. So there will be time periods between innovation when management becomes crucial. The best example is Apple and its products. Every time Apple releases a new version of its products into the market, the focus shifts towards maximizing sales.
What he says about innovative people starting a company and then the company getting swamped with manager type people is absolutely correct and there is a reason for it. Any innovation ultimately leads to revenue generation (or cost saving) which happens through projects for which managers are required for project and people management.
Then there will be financial management, facility management, etc. The problem arises when the company’s focus shifts entirely towards revenue and profits. This is why Apple has a pipeline for new versions of its products and Bose apparently spends 60% of its profits on R&D. These are conscious attempts to maintain innovation at the heart of these companies.
The difference between entrepreneurial/creative and managerial types have blurred in recent times because of the advent of startup culture and venture capital funding. Entrepreneurial/creative people have always been risk-takers but investments were hard to find in the past.
Now, with investments readily available, it has become possible for even managerial type people to become entrepreneurs. Moreover, people with managerial backgrounds get hired or elevated into top executive posts because companies focus largely on revenue and profit generation.
The corporate mindset of not changing what is working fine led to the demise of companies like Kodak. Companies getting filled with managerial type people is the reason why there is always a gap between any form of innovation (that includes corporate restructuring and changes in business strategy) and management which needs to be addressed through change management processes.
What he doesn’t talk about though is at the individual level, whether individuals are doing jobs that match their personality.
In the past, every profession was important in a community, so a blacksmith’s son was raised to become a blacksmith. Now, education, job, social status, even marriage is associated with money. So very few people get the opportunity to evaluate themselves and choose their professions.
The academic ecosystem smothers our creative side and prepares us to become good employees in the corporate world but not good leaders. Working for a few years in a particular role in a company is not a yardstick to become eligible for promotions but that is the culture companies follow.
So corporate employees are majorly neither entrepreneurial/creative nor managerial types and this is why their careers stagnate and another important reason why companies stop being innovative.
Corporate employees are largely under the illusion that spending time equally in the office and at home is what leads to work-life balance. Our lives are so intricately interconnected that it is impossible to separate our professional and personal lives and here also the common denominator is money.
We have to go to the office to work to earn money with which we meet the needs and commitments of our personal lives. Doing what truly interests us and we are passionate about is the key to finding the balance between our professional and personal lives.
The other important aspect is to have an engagement, activity or hobby that provides us gratification in our personal lives and the confidence we gain from it will spill over and improve our professional lives.