If you want to run a business your way and be successful at it, aligning talent and business is essential. How do you do it, I was asked recently. Here’s the answer!
Just a few years ago I was told I was ‘Unconsciously Competent’.
The ‘competent’ side I liked, the ‘unconscious’, …not so much.
Call me fussy, but I’d rather be ‘Consciously Competent’.
If you do not know what I’m on about, we probably should backtrack.
See, not that long ago, I reached out to the online community. I wanted to know what you wanted me to dedicate a podcast to.
One of the topics that came up was this: ‘What are your tips for aligning talent and business?’
So… how do you do it?
Aligning Talent And Business
If ever there was a meaty subject, this is it! But it’s also mighty important!
So much so, that I decided to dedicate two podcast episodes to it. This is the first one. It looks at your talents, your vision, your lifestyle. The next podcast will look into identifying your ideal clients.
I thought I’d start with addressing the ‘What are your tips for aligning talent and business?’ question with my own journey. (Let’s be fair, it’s a lot more real AND more fun than a dry ‘do-this, do-that’ podcast.)
So, …to kick it off, let’s go back to the start of my career.
Being ‘Unconsciously Competent’
Years ago, I started out with a management support agency. I spent my days helping others setting up their business, fine-tuning HR processes, preparing budgets for funding applications, detailing accountability for secured contracts, going with a fine tooth-comb through effective and efficient operations. You name it. If it involved business, I did it.
Next, I refocussed my business and started a full-service event management agency. Again, I did it all, wore all the hats. It was fun for a while until it predominantly became exhausting.
So ...I niched down and honed in on business events.
Today, I run a very successful business event agency that operates through a cultural lens.
Fair to say, I’ve been going for a good while, and I felt ready for my next challenge. Like many of you, I thought I should align my business with my talents, values, and personality. (Hah!)
Now, this sounds like a luxury problem to have, but all the work I did leading up to this point came really easy to me. I was multi-passionate and obviously also multi-talented. But if you asked me about my super-power, I couldn’t for the life of me answer the question!
So, I reached out to a business coach and presented the problem.
I was ‘Unconsciously Competent’.
STEP 1: Who Are You Really?
To clarify things a little, the ‘Unconsciously Competent’ verdict is one of ‘The 4 Stages Of Competence’. The aim is to be ‘Consciously competent’.
Being ‘Unconsciously Competent’ meant I was fine in the skills and talent department, but I needed some work in awareness and insight. I needed to become clear on what my talents and personality traits were if aligning talent and business was ever going to happen.
So… out came the personality tests.
Personality Test Meyers-Briggs
You’ve probably heard people talk about this one.
When they say they are a ISFJ (my result), they are describing their personality type, based on the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung.
As humans, we are different in how we use our perceptions and judgement in 5 different areas. Based on the results for each of these areas, you are matched with one of the 16 personalities.
Personality Test DISC
This was another personality test I embarked on.
This test presents you with 28 groups of four statements. For each, you select the description that is the least and the most like you. In the end, you find out your DISC type and personality profile based on the 4 DISC factors: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.
What was striking to me was that the result of the DISC test was very much in line with the result from the Myers-Briggs test. Especially 83% assertive identity was very in line with the high D result in the DISC test.
Personality Test Enneagram
Number 3, the Enneagram delves into your strengths and weaknesses, your basic fears and basic desires. It’s also free.
The Enneagram has 9 personality types. When I did this assessment, I was told I was two dominant types: type 9 (peacemaker) and type 3 (achiever).
To get a clear answer of which one was more dominant, I had to answer one (!) further question. At the end I was a type 9.
But if you’re one question between 2 personality types, … surely I can claim both. (thinking emoji)
What’s more, they both match with who I am as a person: I like to avoid conflict, and I’m often the one to create harmony around the boardroom table.
But also, I am very motivated by my constant need to be successful, and I’ll do anything to avoid failure.
Uncovering these things, I could see how these traits manifested themselves in the past. Talking about eye-openers!
Personality Test Gallup - Clifton Strengths
Like the DISC, for this one you need to pay.
You can choose to uncover your top 5 strengths or you can pay to know your top 34 (or so).
My top 5 are: Achiever (Yep, again!), Realtor (very much in line with the Enneagram type 9 aka peacemaker), Strategic, Maximiser and Futuristic.
Was I Successful In My Personality Test Job Talent Quest?
Did I get a clearer image of what my talents are? Heck yes!
Interestingly, the 4 tests were extremely consistent. Each describes them in different ways, with their own lingo, but when you read the detail, they all come down to the same thing.
I now know my talents and I can articulate them and be conscious of them. I can do what I’m good at AND avoid what is not in my talent wheel!
(Note: On the podcast I also tell the story of my friend Anna Nelson, who did an 180 on her career after doing the Clifton Strengths test. It’s really worth checking out for some extra inspiration.)
A word of caution, though. Thinking you will know how to create a business that is aligned with your talents, the minute you look at the results of your first test is going to leave you disappointed.
But with the right perspective, personality tests are a perfect place to start. They are a wonderful tool; an initial step in the journey of figuring it all out. If you ask me, it’s valuable to do more than one. Despite the fact they each use their own specific language, I found doing several really showed a pattern.
However... when I say the personality tests are a first step, it implies we haven’t reached the end-line yet!
STEP 2: The Business Lifestyle Canvas
Knowing your talents, character traits, strengths and weaknesses is not the only thing that makes up the blueprint for your talent alignment in business.
You also have to consider lifestyle, values and believes. The next step addresses this.
We’ve discussed in the past how these are important pillars in figuring out what it is you want from your business; but also in aligning talent and business.
You know the drill: find a quiet spot and think about these 3 questions.
Question 1: What do you want your business to give you?
Chances are your answer is ‘money’, but I need you to delve deeper. Why do you want more money? Are you dreaming about having more impact? Do you want to change the lives of your kids? Do you want to give back to the community?
Question 2: How many hours do you want to work? How many hours can you work?
Question 3: In 3 years from now, my business is successful because... (Finish the sentence)
This question looks at the vision you have for your business. How many staff do you see in 3 years from now? What do you want people to say about your business in 3 years? What is the impact your business has?
You may need to revisit the answers to these questions a few times before you feel like you nailed it. So take your time and don’t pressure yourself too hard to come up with a prompt answer.
I told you; it was a journey... One that isn’t finished yet.
Going From Here
Once we have honed in on the first two steps in this podcast, we can move on to the second podcast, which addresses how you attract the right clients for your business. Who your perfect clients are hinges on your insights into step one and two.
If you want help with aligning your business with your strengths and your vision for your business, I’m here to work with you on that. We create a blueprint and map it all out on a one-pager.
What makes your business unique? We’ll work on your value propositions to serve as the filter for everything you do in your business. We’ll describe your ideal client and the problems you are going to solve for them. What are your revenue streams? We’ll also look at the processes that will work to your advantage.
Simply book in a ‘Business Coaching’ session on my website in the ‘Work With Me’ section and we can unpack everything or anything in this episode.
Finally, don’t forget to watch out for part 2!