A Look Inside A Career Workshop And Why Career Personality Tests Suck

A Look Inside A Career Workshop And Why Career Personality Tests Suck

If you attend Erica Sosna’s career workshop you will hear us call you a cactus.

“But why?”, I hear you cry, as your brow furrows with confusion!

The Answer…. The humble cactus is uniquely designed to thrive in a very specific ENVIRONMENT.

We believe each participant on our programmes is also uniquely designed for a specific environment and we have made it our work to find out what that design is – and then equip each person to design a career that suits it.

Back to the cactus

Cactuses are succulents. They are designed to be extraordinarily good at absorbing and containing water in their bodies – perfect for the desert, or the 36-degree summer heat recently recorded in London!

A cactus has spikes instead of leaves, to minimize the amount of water evaporation. The spikes also stop the cactus being noshed by marauding local animals.

Put a cactus in a desert and it thrives. Put it in a marshy bog and it will struggle.

We believe that, like the cactus, each person is uniquely designed to be exceptional at the right work in the right environment. That’s the work and environment that they were uniquely designed for.

The question is, what environment and what work?

Every career workshop starts with your USPs

Our unique career matters method is designed to answer this question. The career workshop takes clients through a very specific set of processes that means everyone leaves with a Career Design and a Career Plan.

We start by defining the difference between your features and your benefits.

Features – the natural attributes, talents, characteristics that make you, you. You might be a natural problem solver or someone who is excellent at creating rapport or designing an elegant and effective work process.

From here, we then explore the benefits – the so what? These are the results and value that they bring to an organization and to a specific role. The more aligned these are with the work they are doing, the more likely they are to feel successful, happy and fulfilled. We might call this ‘job fit’. It seems obvious that if we play to our strengths, work will feel more rewarding. Yet for many of us, we have put ourselves in environments that did not support ourselves to thrive and, when we didn’t we assumed it was us that was no good or a bad fit.

So if I like big picture and vision, please don’t put me in a detailed role.

If I thrive outdoors, I will feel trapped in an office.

When I am someone who delivers a very high standard output, don’t rush me to produce a minimum viable product.

Take a moment to consider – in your career history – what were the environments and activities in which you really felt at home and thriving?

Conversely, what were the environments and activities in which you felt the opposite? This is where personality tests often fall down, they consider the fit from a skills perspective, but neglect the importance of the environment.

Each personality does well a different environment. The art for a manager and a company is to uncover this uniqueness and find the place in the system where the person can belong and do well.

Once this clarity comes, it then becomes obvious that, like the cactus, the environment can make all the difference.

On an individual level, it is our responsibility to both know about our unique features and benefits and to be able to articulate what we need to thrive and be our best.

The process to unlock your features and benefits sits around what we call The Career Equation™.

The Career Equation™

Our career fulfilment equation looks like this:

My Career Path

Copyright © EricaSosna Ltd

We use the equation to help each participant to identify their natural talents, areas of interest and their personal impact and then find an environment in which they can flourish and thrive.

In The Career Equation™, we define success as a combination of your unique skills and strengths, your passions or interests and your desire for impact. The first two skills and passions are well documented in careers literature, like this little Fashion and your Impact Infographics, based on Myers Briggs, that illustrates that. (Read more about it here)

While Myers Briggs seems to be the go-to place to explore personality and career fit, we believe it misses out on two important components that The Career Equation™ addresses.

First, the question of personal impact. Each of us has a different definition of success.

We are bombarded all the time with society’s perception of what success would be but in fact, each participant in our workshops defines their ideal career outcomes and their legacy, rather differently.

Some focus on stability, others on being on the cutting edge. Some love variety, while others prefer to specialize. Some of us want to leave an impact on people, some on the environment, some are more focused on financial performance while for others it is all about the tangible items they have created or invented. This question of impact is, we feel more potent than the generic workaround personality types – because the impact is unique and bespoke to each individual.

If you want an alignment between personality and career that results in an uplift in company performance, then impact matters. Each individuals’ definition of success needs to find a home alongside the success and target outcomes defined by the business. Each personality will define this differently and need to hear and see different things in the strategy of the company, to feel confident that they have their part to play.

Secondly….Environment makes a crucial difference.

Each personality and character needs a different ‘ground’ in order to thrive. The good news is, sometimes all that is required to shift an employee into an ideal thriving work environment is a few small ‘tweaks’ to the role or the working context and culture. These are easily defined and clarified through a quality career conversation or a modest investment in a career workshop.

Where next?

If you are looking for inspiration about where your cactus should grow, I would recommend the following.

1. The Holland Code – a short test that relates to vocational choice. You can do it for free here.

2. Hearing the experiences of others. My favourite place to do that is the excellent video resource library at www.icould.com. I could have collected hundreds of video interviews with professionals in a huge range of roles and made this easily searchable.

3. Talk to us. We won’t spit out a list of jobs – we will just play back to you the ways in which your environment supports or hinders your ideal work.

If you are in an organization and would like to explore how to align personality types and job fit to drive internal mobility, retention and performance, then let’s talk.

Alignment between your organisations’ needs and the personality and skills of talent means better employee retention, employee engagement and performance. Each member of your employee population has a unique set of personality drivers, skills and interests. Let’s talk about how The Career Equation™ could deliver results and rewards for you.

Enjoyed this article? There’s more to explore. Check out some of our best entries…

> My career path and why career conversations matter to me [uncensored]

> How To Change Career Direction and Do Work That You Love

> 5 Good Life Lessons that I’ve learned from planning my unconventional wedding

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *