The gatherers are different than The Hunters, The Seekers or The Farmers. They are hunters but their approach is planned and based on accumulated knowledge and experience. The gatherers are driven by survival, but for the community first and for themselves as a part of the community. They do participate in hunts, are usually very helpful in seeking and give advice to farmers. Their hunts gather and store that which is important now for survival but also can be stored and used in the future in lean times or to advance the needs of the community.
In ancient times, the gatherers were often the medicine people of their community, considered wise and knowing. The gatherers learned ways to use everything from herbs to totems to cure and make life for the community better, heal those in need and to build knowledge that can be passed on to others.
They are often the trainers and the teachers in the community, using their knowledge, experience and observance of best practices to help others excel. While they have an ego, their strength and reward comes primarily through the success of others they teach. Their ego does need attention and, if ignored, unappreciated or not respected, they will find another community. They will participate in almost everything and it is important to them as this is a part of how they build knowledge and experience.
In current day companies, the gatherers are data miners. The gatherers learn, experience, catalog and consider uses for information from the seemingly unimportant to major discoveries that can be put to immediate use. They spot trends quicker, see patterns and are tuned into the “buzz” of what is going on in, around and outside of the company. Their intuition is nearly instinctive and a part of what makes them “tick”. Most importantly, the best gatherers have the skill to recognize how to put that information and intuition to work. The worst do not share and have no idea of how to use the information. They are often “in the way”, filled with meaningless self-importance.
The leadership in order to gain the most from its gatherers will schedule regular communications to hear what the gatherer knows. The gatherer will be pleased that there is a pattern, specific timing and regularity to the communications. The leader’s role in these communications is to listen and ask questions – especially those that begin with “What if?” The questions are a better way of sharing information and giving perspective than statements of fact that the gatherer may feel ends the communications or basically denies their contribution or validity.
Gatherers are highly social but do not need to be the center of attention. When they provide value, acknowledgement and appreciation go a long way. Making sure that they know the end result adds to their learning and fuels their desire to be a valuable contributor.
The hunters and seekers are valuable and help meet immediate needs. The farmer works to meet immediate and long term needs. The gatherer is important to the viability of all impacting current and future efforts. Companies utilizing diverse groups within their companies are the healthiest and best suited to weather all storms.