14 January 2010 by Jennifer

One for the “What am I like?” category.

There’s a series of books and related material by a bloke called Roger Hamilton, which uses an 8-category classification of people’s natural strengths, and if you take their test you get a sort of star chart thing of which aspects you’re most naturally good at. It costs $100 to do the test, which is not an amount of money I’d probably ever have spent on it – but a couple of years ago, I got a freebie code (thanks!) off my brother, who’d been to one of RH’s courses, and gave it a go.

I’m always a bit sceptical about things like this, but actually it turned out to be enjoyably interesting, and some of the description was quite recognisably me.

Here’s the pretty picture I got:

Profile diagram. The main parts of what's on it will be explained in the rest of the article anyway.

Slightly bigger version here.

So my two strongest ones were “Creator” and “Mechanic” – mechanic actually somewhat higher than creator. By “Mechanic” they basically mean something like “systems geek”. I had low scores on the roles involving lots of gregariousness and socialising and making deals.


Here are some words and phrases from the “creator” profile:

  • inventor, visionary, pioneer, innovative, intuitive

  • big picture thinker

  • excellent at getting things started

  • creating not just products, but the businesses and marketing plans that will drive those products to market

  • likely to start their own business to support their product innovations

  • can be extremely productive when you are using your creativity

Pitfalls for a creator include

  • tendency to have many projects going at the same time, which can sometimes lead to distraction and lack of focus

  • living the consequence of some creative idea they had in the past.

It being a while now since I did the test, I’ve forgotten most of the questions, but one I do remember the gist of because I found it funny.

It was something like “So your project just finished very successfully. What are you doing now?

  1. You’re in the office, tidily wrapping up all the last loose ends of admin.

  2. You’re at the end-of-project party, celebrating and socialising with your team-mates.

  3. You’re brimming over with ideas for the next project, and already beginning to invent and design it.”

I burst out laughing, because answer (c) so blatantly and perfectly described EXACTLY where I would be at! Had they been a fly on the wall?


Here are some phrases from the “mechanic” profile:

  • mix of intuitive thinking and systems focus

  • what they build tends to be built to last.

  • distribution, construction and logistics

  • creative focus is on the systems

  • dynamic, yet with an introverted tendency … likely to pick your friends carefully.

  • innovating and creating the systems processes … a system of your own creation.

  • The value creation activities that are important to you include the documentation of all systems and processes … This becomes imbedded value that endures not just with the venture you are involved in in now, but the next one as well, and the one after that.

(hmm yeah… See me document my inventions)

One pitfall for a mechanic:

sensitivity to systems more of a curse than a talent, as they would always be the first to feel affected when things weren’t going to plan

Complementary people

The whole premise of RH’s stuff is that you use your profile to discover what kinds of other people you should hook up with, to generate most value in the world and most wealth for yourself.

Actually, mechanics are strongly recommended to connect up with creators, so it’s a pretty workable combination in itself.

The other one they’re both most recommended to hook up with is called “Deal maker”. Creators and mechanics aren’t that great at turning their ideas into money, and they’re generally not all that extrovert. Without someone else as a “deal maker”, I’ll probably never get super rich off my ideas.

But what also struck me was that now we’ve got the internet, to some degree my systems skills can enable me to set up systems which would do some of the world-facing for me.


Something I found very useful about this feedback is about valuing my systems-geekiness.

What I realised is that validation for creativity is really easy to come by. It’s a quality that’s almost universally lauded and valued, and envied by people who don’t think they have enough of it.

But most people are considerably more ambivalent about systems skills and process-geekery. About the best you’ll ever hear on that front is “Gosh, aren’t you organised”. And even then, that often has a sort of back-spin on it like ::cough::obsessive-pernickety-anal::cough::

It made a change to be told “This is one of your top assets”. It was almost like a coming-out moment – yes! I am a systems geek! So there! and hurrah!


My next highest two were “Star” and “Lord”.

The gist of the “Lord” idea (yeah I know, sexist name for it) is someone who controls a lot of resources – or at least the income stream from them – in a quiet way.

Compared to the Mechanic or Creator profiles, there wasn’t much in the description of this that I recognised as particularly characteristic of me. About the closest was “first to analyze a situation”. But it’s true that I do really like to own useful resources. I still remember the day when I first read that “the artist should own the means of production” and immediately thought “Yes!”

So in reality I’ve got, for example, a badge machine, some music gear, a lot of useful woodworking/DIY tools… and – not exactly on the Rockefeller scale here – a cellar which is quite unfeasibly full of reclaimed wood, cardboard and bubble wrap ::laughing to myself as I write::


The “Star” profile describes someone who personifies their own brand – like Oprah Winfrey, or any number of celebrities or pop stars.

The intriguing thing about this to me is: Yes, I can see that (especially in my music projects) I do some of the things typical of the “Star” profile. (One of them is “defining and refining your identity” – and I recognise in that something of my uncompromising line about what Single Bass is and isn’t.)

But some of it does feel more like “doing” than “being”. I’m not actually as extrovert as the essentially “star” profile person would be. I have reservations about being famous – it strikes me as rather inconvenient and stressful. It’s more like, I figured out (with my systems skills) how “being a pop star” works, and then planned accordingly :-)

OK, I’m not in danger of getting famous from Single Bass any time soon anyway – it’s been on the back burner for ages. But the point is, it’s the creative aspects of it that I like most: both the obvious one of songwriting, and the systems-invention aspect of spreading it around.

And the rest…

There’s another profile-dimension called Accumulator that I have a bit of, and then the other three I have practically none of, according to the test & the pic. My main quadrant is introvert/intuitive, and in the opposite quadrant I’ve got basically nul points.

(In the interests of fairness to myself, I feel I must mention that by “Supporter” they mean “someone who knows lots of people and connects them” – in fact, “Connector” or “Team-builder” might have been a better name for it – so not having much of that in my profile doesn’t mean I’m not supportive of my friends.)

So yeah, on this system basically I’m a creator/mechanic.

Or I could say mechanic/creator, since actually my Mechanic score was higher – but it feels like Creator ought to come first in terms of real-time process. (And it does come first on RH’s list, with Mechanic at the end.)

Business vs other wealth

I’m ambivalent about RH’s material. On the one hand, he says that the wealth doesn’t have to be financial – it’s about your contribution to the world. On the other hand, pretty much all his examples are about business and money, and pretty much all the people he names are from that world.

I’d like to see him writing some stuff about how his eight roles work in families and communities and activism! For instance, who would be the “deal maker” I supposedly ought to work with in activism? What would they typically be doing, and how would I recognise them?

But the basic idea of “know your strengths and joys, and play to them, and find other people who like doing the other bits”, I think is fundamentally sound.

From me to me

The thing I most want to remember for myself about this just now is how much of a contribution it is to the world when you play to your strengths. It’s true, loads of the most worthwhile stuff I’ve done has been inventing – be it things that didn’t exist before, or the systems to make them work. “Can be extremely productive when you are using your creativity”. I’d like to give myself permission to groove with that a lot more: more of the sheer creativity, plus finding creative, cooperative ways to need to do as little as possible of the things I’m no good at :-)

Linky index…
Top of article
Complementary people
And the rest…
Business vs other wealth
From me to me

2 thoughts on “Creator/mechanic”

  1. Hi! I am looking for a code..for free or a trade or something lol. Seriously. I think I may have a similar personality trait as you but I would love to take the test and really see whats going on. I am a percussionist, and a glass designer where I fuze or blow glass. Its all creative and innovative. People around me say I should just start selling my Ideas. I also have 4 projects going on at once which I think is my weakness. I never see full fruits of my labor – infancy to maturity, you relate? Thought maybe I really could capitalize on innovated business models for a return but I thinks that’s far and few but it does irk me when I pass by my idea invention out in the market. I read the 80/20 principal which helps. This test you did may really help me prune and get better results now that I am more aware. Hmmm lets see to give you glimpse of what I am doing now I think reviels I need help. Things I am involved with…1. am planning and researching custom cajons(already built one) to sell as a business,2. starting to apply my own SEO marketing for a band I perform with (after studingit for a year), 3. just proposed a online marketing plan for a local glass art company,4. just starting a new glass commission and finished a custom award for Chicago’s mayor(assistant),5. I perform 5 times at least a month and book a little online and structure calendars,6. and eventually getting my blog and “how to’s” going for “glass fusing classes” and a future system to help “market your art” videos. So with all that I bet I could probably get rid some of the things I am doing to get a better result. I think in my head I feel like I am doing more than actually geting the best results. I always gotta remember on a macro scale: action——>result->profit potental. Always!! So about that code lol :)

  2. @ Aaron – sorry, no codes here! That’s the only time I’ve done any of Roger Hamilton’s stuff.

    It occurs to me though that you might like Barbara Sher’s book “Refuse to Choose: What do I do when I want to do everything?”, which I blogged about more recently – have you ever read that? or did you see that post? Me and creativity, inc quotes from Barbara Sher. The book’s partly about people thinking they’ve got too many things on the go, when actually for them it’s perfect to have lots of things going at once. Maybe you don’t need to cut down :-)

    But going back to RH, if you did take the test and it showed you were a creator primarily, my guess is he would say you need to network with people whose gift is capitalising on other people’s ideas. Not quite the same as what the people around you have said – it’s not about you selling your ideas – it’s about you finding someone else, whose gift is to see the money making potential in what others do & who likes taking care of that side of it. Like how some pop stars have managers to do the business. What do you think of that?

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