The ability pyramid

  • Disabled – Not in reference to the medical status, simply that they are incapable of working yet. A toddler may fall in this category.
  • Able-bodied – Able to perform labor as directed
  • Learning-abled – Able to learn new things and skills
  • Skilled – Able to work without direction to accomplish a valuable task
  • Expert – Able to train others to do skilled work
  • Strategy/Visionary – Able to coordinate teams of people to accomplish lofty goals in your area of expertise
  • Organizer – The ability to rally people to a cause and get everyone aligned on goals, outcomes, expectations and responsibilities

I put this list together based on my own life experience. Starting from the bottom, I worked in a pizza kitchen, then as an intern/Architectural Draftsman in high school. Then I went to college to become skilled in engineering. I worked in that realm and gained some expertise, starting to train others. In two different ways, I’ve moved into the last groups, but I’ll talk more about that a different day.

In my opinion, going through all of these levels is a valuable set of life experience. In fact, most people are outraged by or envious of the kids born to wealthy families, who are well-connected who seem to skip all the rungs except maybe the last two. However, that’s a trap. As easy as it is to see the privilege, it’s equally hard to see the liability. If someone has expertise and fails at the strategy level, they can always fall back to the expert level and likely still have a viable career. In some cases, when the privileged fail, squander, or risk something they shouldn’t have, they don’t have the previous rungs to fall to. There is a much bigger fall coming.

If you think it’s unfair that other opportunities are handed to people, there is a shortcut in life for anyone to follow. Skip straight to being an organizer. No one has to ask. No one has to tell you what to do. See something that needs to be done, that’s valuable, and organize the people to create it, provide the service, market it, sell it, whatever else. Then no one is your boss. You created the value from nothing by organizing people. Learning to skilled to expert to strategy is almost always the same progression. The only one that offers a different path is that any time you can choose to become an organizer and find all the people you need at the other levels to do what needs to be done. Even organizing financing if you don’t have the money to do this project or business is a skill.

The world always needs more organizers. If you’re tired of putting in job applications, perhaps it’s time to start writing job descriptions.

P.S. You can be an internal organizer at a company, or an entrepreneur, or a non-profit organizer. There is a huge demand for people to organize the actions of others to achieve something meaningful.