My Life as a Maverick

The Predictive Index Results That Changed the Way I Work
Sarah Anderson - Predictive Index- Maverick

by Sarah Anderson

My first job was the perfect fit for me. I was fresh out of college with a marketing degree and little experience and a local magazine decided to give me a chance and let me sell advertisements for them. Eventually, that job morphed into a dual role that was part-time sales, part-time editorial. As a small company, the entire staff was independent contractors and thus could plan our own schedules and come and go as we please. I loved it. I would schedule my sales days full of meetings and run around town. If I was having an off day, I would work from home with no problems. Most days, I would come into the office late morning, get my work done and we usually ended the day with a happy hour or an event to attend. (The main photo for this post was taken in one of my client’s stores. We stopped by their anniversary party as the first of four events we attended that evening! My heaven!) My position was flexible and fun and every day I was able to propose new ideas and run with them. I loved my job with my whole heart.

When that company dissipated, I was lucky to land another wonderful job working in e-commerce. The company was young and fresh and the job itself was fun, but everyone was expected to put in 8 hours a day, no matter what, in the office. Since my new job was primarily dealing with the website, I didn’t have any external meetings or any excuses to get out of the office. I liked the work I was doing, but I felt too much strain on my life and couldn’t figure out why.

It wasn’t until I got wine with my friend Ginny, Hire for Hope’s talent advisor, that I realized why I just wasn’t as happy as I used to be. Ginny had joined Hire for Hope to work in the Talent Optimization division, where Hire for Hope helps companies utilize Predictive Index (PI) to better understand the behavioral drives of their workforce, optimize their environment to best suit their talent and recruit the candidates who are hardwired to be the best fit for their open roles.

Ginny had me take the Behavioral Assessment from PI prior to meeting up just for fun and to better explain to me what she did. The Behavioral Assessment is a tool through the PI platform to uncover the hardwiring of  teams and and candidates. There are 17 reference profiles a person could fall under after taking the test. While each person’s results are a bit more individualized, these profiles can provide the general guidelines for behaviors, needs and best ways to work with each.

When Ginny and I met up, we caught up and I opened up to her about some of the ways I was feeling stress at my job and wasn’t as happy as I used to be. She had to laugh at some of the things I was saying, because she had my Behavioral Assessment results with her and the things that I was struggling with was exactly what my profile type would struggle with. And then she gave me my results and it turned out that I am a Maverick!

The Maverick personality profile is described by PI as an “innovative, ‘outside the box’ thinker, who is undaunted by failure.” Maverick’s communication style is forceful and direct, animated and telling. We are innovative and have confidence in our decision making. We love to take risks as we believe “the ends justify the means” and we’re quick to act. 

Ginny was right. The Behavioral Report she handed me spelled out exactly why I had loved my old job so much, and why I was struggling with the new environment I was in. 

As a Maverick, some of the things I need are: to be challenged, opportunities to influence and variety and freedom from rules and controls. Having a workplace that had me arbitrarily adhering to rules like being in the office from 9-5 just because everyone else had to didn’t work for me. I needed flexibility. I needed to be able to take my ideas and run with them.

My communication style has always been forceful and direct. I was never one to be scared of confrontation, especially in the workplace. I have always been fine having intense conversations if there was a disagreement about a project or if I saw an opportunity to make something better. I’m known among my family and coworkers to either hate something or love it — I don’t fall in the in-between or indifference very often. As a Maverick, it totally fits in my profile to be a little extra animated and to not shy away from directness, but that can come off to some as polarizing and a little too harsh to some (some feedback I had received from my new boss).

The Maverick profile actually gave me a lot of insight on how others in the workplace may see me. It noted that Mavericks may appear tough-minded, may be intolerant of delays, may not adhere to structure or direction and need to be reminded to listen to others’ perspectives. It was a good reminder for me to see that I get very excited about my big ideas, and it would be good to slow down for a minute and listen to the input and ideas of others.

Perhaps my favorite thing that the PI test and my Maverick results gave me was a language and a logic to my hardwiring and some of the difficulties I may come across. Instead of wondering if some of these things were my personality flaws or my improper training from such a freewheeling first work environment, I was able to see them as my hardwiring. It is simply the way I am and what I need from a work environment to be successful. And my favorite part of all of it? It helped me realize how successful I could be. 

One of the Maverick’s weaknesses can be attention to detail. We love the big picture and see it so incredibly clearly. We sometimes skate over the details or the small steps we need to get there. I used to feel bad about myself for this. Why wasn’t I as organized as some people? HOW did I not think of that? What’s wrong with my brain that other people remember that stuff and I don’t?

After reading my results and realizing my Maverick profile type, I simply see it as my strength. I know I’m amazing at the big picture. And now, I know to ask for help with the small things and lean on those incredible people with the brains for details. I seek out people to work with me who are better than me in those ways because I know that our opposite minds will come together to create something wonderful.

My boss and I were able to use the results of my PI test to create a better working agreement for me. After we went over my test and the Maverick’s personality type, we allocated a couple days a week that I did not need to report to the office. He also more clearly saw my need to be handed projects and run with them, and shortly after he made me lead on a couple big projects and let me make all the decisions. He also recognized my need to lead and hired a couple interns under my supervision. I’m so thankful that the results of this test and the realization of my hardwiring were able to give us proactive conversation points to move forward and create the best environment possible for me. 

I have since gone on to new adventures, although I will always hold a special place in my heart for my first two jobs. Now, my full-time job is incredibly flexible. No one tracks my time or cares what I do or how I do it as long as much as they care that I’m able to do my work and create powerful results, which is absolutely perfect for a Maverick profile. I also have enjoyed taking on clients and projects on the side, which really fuels my need for variation. 

I’ve found that if I’m in a spot to fuel my hardwired needs like freedom, flexibility, variation and taking on challenges, I perform better work in every sense. My productivity increases, the quality of my output increases and I am overall just so much happier. And now, I’m able to explain that better to my bosses and have meaningful conversations about what I need to thrive in my role. 

So, here’s to you, my good friend Ginny. (Ginny has since gone on to explore different adventures and spend more time with her family.) Thank you for introducing me to Predictive Index, having me take the Behavioral Assessment, and explaining to me in so much detail my personality type and what I need most in my environment. That information was life-changing to me, and I think every person who works should have access to that same information so they can clearly communicate their environmental needs and find a workplace that best suits them. We spend so much of our lives at work, it’s important to get it right. 

If you’re curious about learning more about Predictive Index and how Hire for Hope can help you and your company uncover the keys to helping your workforce work at it’s best, visit Hire for Hope’s Talent Optimization page or reach out to speak directly with a Talent Advisor. (I highly recommend it!)

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