Keeping your Core Talents at the Core
Though she had a very successful history in sales, Anne Beaulieu had resigned from a sales position, a job she completely disliked. She told me, “I was doing okay. I was used to doing very well in my previous jobs and okay wasn’t acceptable. I knew what it took to accomplish what they wanted, but I wasn’t happy with what I had to do day-to-day.”
Because she had such a feeling of failure, she wanted coaching to make sure she had a good fit for her next job.
We sat down and identified all of her talents – who she was and what she would like to be doing and where she would enjoy working.
Then I gave her some homework. Using what we talked about, she listed her talents beginning with the strongest, then searched web sites I suggested looking for job descriptions that fitted her talents.
We narrowed her skills down to four potential fields – travel, business, event organizing and performing advance work for musical artists. Next she interviewed people who did jobs in these areas, because what people really do on the job doesn’t always the same as their job description. It took her more than a month working two to three hours a day.
She found that she would enjoy any of the jobs but, except for business, they didn’t pay the kind of money she was used to making. She had worked in high tech sales and made a lot of money until the high tech bubble burst.
Anne is a “spark plug for fulfilling a vision.” She can see something in her mind and then make it a reality. The biggest clue was that she loved putting 1500-2500 piece jigsaw puzzles together.
She said, “My mind seems to keep a memory of the colors, shape and patterns of a piece until it is located. I can visualize them until they’re found. I keep the big picture in my mind and work hard to put all the pieces in place to complete the picture. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction when I can look at the finished product, knowing that my work is done and that I have met the objective in the most efficient manner possible.”
To Anne, a puzzle is a mini-project. It’s got a beginning, a middle and an end. She doesn’t like completing a puzzle in one sitting; if she can do that, “It was too small.”
Making a puzzle is really a microcosm of how Anne works best. She likes to work on short-term projects. What motivates her to start is “the problem.” She looked at planning her wedding and a complicated vacation with the same excitement.
She is a natural planner. She loves to devise a plan or approach that will enable her to reach a specific end.
During this process of working through a project from start to finish, she enjoys every opportunity to meet with new people, talk to people, watch and observe them, touch them, make them smile.
She also likes to have an effect on others, but doesn’t want responsibility for their overall management. For example, she’s played softball on and off since her mid-teens. She loves the sport. However, in all those years, she never gravitated to the leadership role of captain or coach because she says, “I don’t want to confront or manage other players. Instead, I like to encourage them.”
She likes being the pitcher. The game can’t start until the pitcher throws the first ball. She loves setting the game in motion, leading by example.
Now she works as a channel sales manager for Centrepoint Technology, a company that makes phone systems for small businesses. In the sales jobs she enjoyed, she did well by developing long-term relationships with her customers. In the job she loathed, she was under extreme pressure to close a sale “no matter what.”
The sales channel is the route the product goes through. She says, “There are five-and-a-half million small businesses. You don’t just start calling them. You use a channel. You could go to the retail world, the small business channel, the telephone channel. I work with the wholesalers, resellers, distributors – anybody who will sell our product to consumers.”
Since she works for a young company, they are still developing the various channels. And when she develops a channel, she has to develop a relationship with the people who are selling her phone equipment. She has to train them and help them build their business – a perfect fit for a woman who loves putting together puzzles – while developing long-term relationships.
Now she looks forward to going to work every day. She says, “It’s very different from my last job. I’m still in sales, but I’m in the right fit.” She’s doing well because she’s keeping her core talents at the core of her job.