Self-Awareness – Avoiding the Rocks of Misalignment

Neil HartleyLife StuffLeave a Comment

sea crashing onto the rocks

In our last post we discussed growing your career through acceptance and how acceptance begins with self-awareness.

Here we look at how you become self-aware and then use the knowledge of any blind spots you may have to avoid sailing your career onto the rocks of misalignment.

If you’re that Big Co salesperson attracted by a wheelbarrow full of share options from a startup, wouldn’t you want to know whether you’d be a good fit?

You may have always worked with a playbook and your job now will be to create one. Are you sufficiently self-directed to be able to do this? How’s your Practical Humility? Are you going to miss the applause at President’s Club and swap it out for having to create your own pitch decks and figure out how to do lead gen – with little to no budget?

Perhaps not. Being aware of who and what you are, accepting it and figuring out where you fit (and why) is essential to figuring out where you want to go.

Identifying any blind spots or, more accurately, attributes with which you are not aligned is essential if those particular attributes are a prerequisite for success in certain roles. This is for your benefit as much as your prospective employer’s.

How do you figure that out? Reading, self-reflection, journaling, talking to friends or loved ones, getting an executive coach, and taking assessments are all critical tools.

We have developed a proprietary online assessment tool that looks for a specific type of individual—a Pathfinder. This is someone who, when faced with opportunities and challenges, innovates rather than accepting the status quo and who, further, creates a path for others to follow.

A Pathfinder has many attributes ranging from an ability to deal and even thrive with ambiguity to being self-directed. Overall 17 such attributes comprise a Pathfinder which we validated over many years using empirical research (personal knowledge, industry research, alpha and beta testing) as well as statistical testing.

Our assessment helps calibrate individuals against each Pathfinder attribute. As we pointed out in our last post, “If you are a Pathfinder, great. If not, that’s great too”. Not everyone needs to be a Pathfinder. Not everyone will score highly against every Pathfinder attribute. That’s cool too.

Let’s look at two environments where Pathfinders are an ideal fit – not just in specific roles, but across the whole business.

Firstly, self-managed organizations. Think work without hierarchy. You have the autonomy to work on projects you choose rather than being told what to work on and by when. Sounds great doesn’t it? Many people think so and join self-managed organizations only to find that that autonomy comes with a level of responsibility and accountability that is not quite as comfortable a fit.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that you have such a blind spot before you leave your current job for a self-managed organisation?

Likewise, startups are a great home for Pathfinders. One of the most common mis-hires for startup founders is that of their first sales hire. Maybe it’s a psychological trigger or shortcut but founders often look to larger companies in their space and take their first sales hire from them. They do this without thinking of the all of the support that will be available to that successful Big Co salesperson. Support which their startup won’t be able to replicate.

So, how do you that? Well, you can take our Pathfinder assessment. It’s free for the individual, should take only 10-15 minutes of your time and will give you that self-awareness to improve your career decision making.

While we firmly believe that not everyone needs to be a Pathfinder, there are AI advancements well underway that will impact everybody. Those of us who are more comfortable following a playbook in our daily lives will be most impacted by AI. Those with more of a Pathfinder mindset will better navigate the choppy waters.

Think this doesn’t apply to you? Here is some food for thought:

“This [AI – Ed] is a regime change. It is not more of what came before. So you have to throw yourself in it and have that flexibility of mind.” Emad Mostaque, CEO, Stability AI.

There will be no [human] programmers in five years.” Emad Mostaque, CEO, Stability AI.

“In one study, IBM’s Watson made the same recommendations human doctors did in 99% of 1,000 medical cases and made suggestions human doctors missed in 30% of them. AI can reference more cases than the most experienced physician while keeping up to date with the latest journals and studies.” Andrew Yang, The War on Normal People.

Maybe you’re a content writer in a marketing agency? AI will help you be more efficient, right? Sure. But what happens when your clients start producing more of their own content, because they’ve been AI-enabled?

The good news is that when you take our Pathfinder assessment, not only do you gain the self-awareness that will keep you off the rocks of misalignment, but we also provide guidance on how you can move along the Pathfinder spectrum, which will help you navigate the AI tsunami bearing down on all of us.

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