Find your potential and talents…that’s what it takes to move forward
Pete Daoust came to me after he was laid off when the company he worked for closed its Canadian operations. His settlement package included career counseling, but what he found surprised him.
He said he expected me to “groom” him. Instead, Pete said, “This turned out to be a fact-finding and soul-searching exercise identifying what made Pete Daoust tick. I learned things that I like to do and some very specific things that I need to do in order to be happy at work.”
At age 49, he’d already had a successful career as an executive. His last job was a district sales manager with Onvia – a company that used the Internet to bring together purchasing agents and suppliers. For example, if someone wanted to buy 54 desks and five computers, instead of researching unit prices from different suppliers, they could reference the Onvia Web page, find the best prices from many suppliers, and make the purchases directly with the manufacturers through the Web page.
Our goal wasn’t just to get Pete another job, no matter how much it paid. The objective was to identify his innate talents and interests, then find positions where he would be a perfect match.
Throughout our conversation, I realized that Pete had a natural talent for strategic planning and solving problems. He was great at starting businesses, but found running a successfully operating business less of a challenge.
Pete’s problem-solving talents had shown when he was between 6 and 8 years of age. A tradesman was having a problem figuring out how to fill small holes in the front steps of Pete’s home. He’d just replaced the old wooden railings with new ones made of wrought iron and the bolts had left holes.
After studying the situation, Pete could not understand the man’s dilemma. If he didn’t have any dowels – he should fill the holes with Popsicle sticks. It was that simple! The man laughed at Pete’s ingenuity, and proceeded to fill the holes just as the boy had suggested. He then trimmed the excess wood, applied putty and then painted the steps.
Pete became quite animated when he talked about once producing a high school play. His responsibilities were everything that wasn’t acting. What was particularly satisfying for him was pulling the key elements – stage design, stage management, lights, sound, music and setting together.
Pete is a strategic animal. If there is no strategy in what he does, there is no joy in it for him. He thrives on overcoming unforeseen obstacles. He loves to step into situations where people are building a business, a structure, a skill, or a team. He wants to be a player, assembling the various components and then seeing the whole thing come together.
The most important thing he discovered is that he loves building more than being an every day manager.
Pete is now an associate in a business where he applies all of his potential and talents, along with his past experience. It’s called e-adjuster. He sub-contracts with insurance adjusters to determine the amount of loss a property owner has suffered in a disaster such as fire or flood.
Other associates have the homeowners go to stores to find the cost of each item, such as a pair of “Tommy Hilfiger” jeans, and then report back to the adjuster.
True to his innate talent, Pete found a better way. He’s created a database using e-adjuster that contains almost every item people could lose in a disaster. All you have to do is enter the item onto a Web-based database and the amount of loss is displayed. It saves the homeowner at least 30 days of very frustrating work at a time when they have already gone through a painful experience. It also saves the insurance companies time and money.
Pete operates more efficiently than other associates working for e-adjusters because he capitalizes on his weak and strong points. Instead of doing the less strategic work such as data entry, he hires sub-contractors who enjoy collecting data and going through the rubble at the scene to identify damaged items. He spends his time doing what he really enjoys – setting the game plan for each case and bringing the report together.
Pete’s business model turned senior management heads to the point where e-adjuster appointed him Regional Manager for Eastern Canada in a move that will see him spearhead development into new territories.
This is proof that one can make a career change and expect to be back on top if you are prepared to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses. Be strong where you’re good and let someone else pick up what you do not like doing … as long as they like doing it.