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Great individual contributor, but 'wrong' behavioral pattern for promotion

edited August 2019 in Diagnose

I've seen this happen a few times before, and I'm not sure what best practice is. Say we have a salesperson who is great at their job, and they're a 'Maverick' pattern. They would really like to be a Director in the next year, but that role calls for a 'Strategist' profile - which is a far cry from Maverick.

What should we do with this disconnect?


  • Great question Maya! Sometimes you could have a great candidate that isn't a perfect behavioral match for the role that is being filled. This doesn't mean that this person can't succeed in the role, it just means they need to be cognizant about the areas they may need to work on to be successful. As long as we know the areas that we need to work on we can continue to develop those areas. In a perfect world everyone would be a perfect behavioral match for their role, but we know this is simply not the case. Being armed with good information about ones self can allow people to succeed in roles that they may not have been able to otherwise.

  • Great conversation. As a TO newcomer I'm still soaking everything in. With the risk of being redundant, my thinking wraps around the 4 factors of disengagement and ways to apply them in this situation. The job assessment seems like an important first step where you get the hiring team's consensus around what you want to get out of this role and the business objectives this seat needs to fulfill. Assessing the manager and team dynamic are also paramount to ensure your Maverick and everyone around them can co-exist and create a high performing group. And I'd think the cultural piece is still relevant, although this is an incumbent employee, they might be joining a new subculture.

  • This is a great thread. Thank you for starting, @Maya Rittmanic !

    One question I've been asking people about lately is why it seems like some people have low formality (as Mavericks do) but come across a having high formality (as Strategists do).

    I'm not saying there are any concrete theories out there that have been proven by science, but it does sound like with self-awareness and training, we can more easily stretch--even to the point of coming across the opposite of how we're wired (highly detail-oriented when the data would suggest we're less detail-oriented).

    The other school of thought is that one might be able to leverage their strengths to mitigate weaknesses. For example, I have a situational degree of patience. This shows up for me in a love of list-making and process but with the intent to streamline things so I can move faster. I use that love of process and list-making to make sure I don't screw up/miss a detail, so when I post a blog to our website, I have a checklist I walk through to make sure I don't accidentally miss a step because I'm moving too quickly/not paying attention.

  • Great contribution, @Shannon Howard.

    As a Maverick who in a previous lifetime ran an accounting/bookkeeping firm (serial entrepreneur), I'm well aware of where my strengths lie when it comes to the specific factor of formality. As an example, knowing that I was not always getting all the facts/details, I enacted controls to make sure a more 'formal' team member reviewed my resolutions to client-issues/operational issues to surface any unseen impacts of my decisions/choices.

    Also, as the business owner and decision-maker, I was able to take the high-level perspective and ask the important question: does this really matter? So knowing yourself and what the role will require is the information that is needed to adapt to the role.

    It's NOT necessary to have the person profile match the job profile.

    Variables that ARE necessary in my opinion are that the overall business strategy/context is clear to the incoming person, that there's a cultural fit with the team (enables adaptation to the role), and that there's performance (data-driven) feedback within the business context.

    I hope that helps.

  • Such a good question, @Maya Rittmanic . I've been thinking about this and wondering about the career pathing side of this equation. I agree with @Adam Patterson - leadership and management demands can be really different from that of an individual contributor. So in this example, we are hiring mavericks and perhaps other social profiles in to the salesperson roles, and then looking for strategists in the leadership roles that these salespeople might see as a path for themselves. How do we build in meaningful career pathing conversations and development for these indiv contributor roles along the way so that they also have a solid shot at that Director role that they want? I think this is a really important part of the picture here.

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