Different kinds of people are drawn to different kinds of tasks and work. We can see DESIGNERS, BUILDERS, FIXERS, and OPERATORS/USERS/TESTERS everywhere we work. Our talents don't limit us to a box. People get excited working on roles that reward their talents. We are all usually some combination of these and other roles that are not listed here.
I've always been a bit of a dreamer/designer, which explains the number of projects that I have started and remain half-built. Builders/makers, on the other hand, seem to have the ability to see a project though. Maybe a one-weekend-project takes several weekends, but generally gets done. I am also a relentless fixer/troubleshooter. When there is an issue, I want to understand what has caused it and what the solution is. A weak spot of mine is that I sometimes struggle with repetitive monotonous tasks. I’m not the most effective user/operator. Everyone is a consumer of things, some people are better, more understanding users than others.
I think we all like working on teams. We all like working on successful teams. By successful teams, I mean that everybody's contribution is appreciated and at the end, we have made something (hopefully something useful).
Since we are all different, it would be an interesting exercise for everyone to say, "If I were a dreamer/designer, I would work on creating.." Then post the results. If a project is especially exciting for a group of three or so, form a team and submit a proposal. Next have everyone look at the proposals. It might be better not to identify who is on all of the teams, to prevent bias. With everyone looking at proposals, have them ask, "If I were a builder/maker, how would I schedule and build this thing?" With regular progress reports, by the operator/testers (with everyone contributing), teams as well as the larger team could offer encouragement.
Another exercise would be to get people to say, "If I were a fixer, the thing I'd like to get working is.."
I am not the best fixer, but it is one of the things that I am drawn toward. I was used to take broken stuff from the office to disassemble and attempt to repair. Fixing something that was broken is 1000 times better than buying a replacement something(assuming it is repaired correctly). Even if I can't fix a thing, it is good learning undertanding how to take it apart and put it back together. Having people participate in fixing things adds importance, accountability, and a sense of responsibility to make things better. If people know things are broken and seeing a lack of action to fix them is demoralizing. Knowing how to maintain a service or system is often more significant than knowing how to set it up.
Lastly, we are all consumers of things. "If I were an end user, I would expect.. I would be disappointed by.. I would be delighted by.." Each of the Design/Build/Fix stories and projects could be evaluated by the group as a group of end users. What is confusing? What needs to go back to the drawing board. What is an example that makes us feel good as a team.
Possible projects could be things that take a couple hours or a couple months, depending on how much time is devoted and the size of the team.
How much time a person could be given to a project would be determined by their supervisors and availability. It would be fun to get some of the Automation guys involved in a project with the network team for monitoring, or with the Apps Team to build something. Also, a team with all builders, or all users, will run out of talent and need to ask for help from other talent types.
The information an organization would get from these questions would not only highlight what people like to do, but problems in processes that may need immediate attention. Who knows what people see is broken.
"If I were a dreamer/designer, I would work on creating.."
"If I were a builder/maker, how would I schedule and build this thing?"
"If I were a fixer, the thing I'd like to get working is.."
"If I were an end user, I would expect.. I would be disappointed by.. I would be delighted by.."
I hope I made this easy enough to skim. One of the ethical principles I carried from my previous work was “always take advantage of an opportunity to make things better.” I know this sort of thing is fun for me, and the type of thing I tend to think about in my free time.