Finders, Minders, & Grinders: Who Are They, and Where Do You Fit In?
*[Photo credits at the end of the post.]
At the downtown law firm where my husband was a partner, there was an informal understanding that people who worked at the firm were one of three basic types: Finders, Minders, or Grinders.
The Finders were the people who “found” business and brought it into the firm. They networked. They knew people. They had lots of relationships. They were interested in what was going on with other people. They knew how to open a conversation and how to close business. Many (but not all) of the Finders were extroverts. Certainly there are as many introvert clients as extrovert clients (in any line of work), and many introvert clients prefer to work with other professionals who are also introverts, so there are Introvert Finders. But the typical Finder is an outward-facing person who enjoys being “out there” and knowing what’s going on with others. Finders are highly skilled at seeing and closing business opportunities. They enjoy being Finders and are generally well rewarded for it.
The Minders were the people who managed the client relationship. When there was active work going on for that client, the Minder either did the work themselves or were the point of contact between the people doing the work and the client. When there was no active work going on for that client, the Minder stayed in touch in the background, keeping the connection in place, following up on any details pertaining to past work, and generally staying on that person’s radar. During the active phase of a project, the Minder stays in close touch with the client as the work demands, which at the height of a project can be multiple times throughout the day, or days of ongoing meetings. Happy Minders enjoy the ongoing relationships with clients and their businesses, and are grateful to the Finders for bringing in the business, which Minders may not be that skilled at or interested in learning.
The Grinders were the people who were “off in the back room” grinding out the analyses and reports, working out calculations, developing projections, and otherwise doing the hard, hands-on number and data work that needs to take place behind the scenes. They had little direct contact with the client, and their work was coordinated by a Minder. Most Grinders like being Grinders — they enjoy the focused, direct work and the results they reach, they appreciate not having to prospect for business and learn closing skills, and they also appreciate not having to handle the client through the ups and downs of a project.
Of course many Grinders are also Minders, and many Minders are also Finders, and so forth. Most professionals wear many hats.
But most of us, whether or not we are lawyers, naturally fall into one of these primary categories. Do you know which of these roles is particularly compatible with your temperament? One of these functions is likely to be more ease-full and comfortable for each pf us. Not that we shouldn’t learn to be effective in all of them, because learning a new way of working can open doors to opportunities and satisfactions unavailable through the other functions. But generally, our inherent, natural temperament will predispose us to one of these three types of roles.
Even in professions that are very different from this business model, these inclinations apply. For example, if you are a primary care MD, you may find that you particularly enjoy meeting new patients and getting to know them, or you may particularly enjoy the long-term ongoing relationship you are likely to have with a patient over the course of their lifetime. Or you may be much more engaged by the after-hours research that you do as you investigate treatment options for a new client with a rare syndrome you’ve never run into before, or you may ultimately turn to research full time.
It can be extremely useful to know what you’re best at and what you most enjoy. This allows you to make decisions that give you more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t enjoy. It can also help you understand what kinds of work you would be wise to delegate or hire. We can’t all do everything well, and hiring people who are highly skilled at what you are not highly skilled at is a strategy that is at the heart of many people’s personal success formulas.