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Feel-good factor

By Karla Dondio

Gut instinct works for some personality types, writes Karla Dondio.

Strategic goal-mapping is often lauded as a fail-proof way to build a successful career. But while meticulous planning is a style that works for some, is there another approach that also gets the job done?

The principal at Crossways Consulting, Dr Darryl Cross, has worked as an organisational psychologist for more than 30 years and has gathered experience from the whole career spectrum – consulting on issues from work climate and morale to team management and individual performance.

Cross highlights that there are two types of personality styles common in the workplace: people who are facts-driven and people who are intuitive, the former predominating in careers such as accounting and the latter in areas such as marketing.
‘‘Intuitives’’, as Cross calls them, are less concerned about seeking out and mapping details. They are more focused on the career journey.

‘‘Intuitives set sail and don’t plan it as much, and go by their gut feel, having a general intuitive sense on when to attack,’’ he says. ‘‘They’re good at picking up the themes and patterns. And often they’re very much about looking forward.’’

Cross cautions that no matter what personality style you are, you still need to know the final goalpost; otherwise, you’ll derail from your career path.

‘‘Irrespective of whether you’re facts-driven or intuitive, you’ve actually got to have a big-picture plan; otherwise, it’s futile,’’ Cross says.

‘‘Now, the way you get there is going to be different for one group than the other.’’

The manager of marketing and supplier management at Touch Networks, Jo Wenzel, has enjoyed a decade-long career in marketing. Her success in paving a path to management rests on both her intuitive style of listening, learning and capitalising on opportunities, and her strong work ethic.

Wenzel ‘‘stumbled’’ into fashion retail after leaving a degree in graphic design. Dissatisfied with the industry, at the age of 28 she sought professional counsel to explore a new career path. She was surprised to be advised that she was already in a well-suited industry, so she proposed that a creative career in marketing would better suit her personality.

The careers counsellor suggested that if Wenzel wanted to pursue work in this field, she should go back to study full time. ‘‘I thought, ‘That doesn’t work for me, I’ll find other avenues to do it’,’’ Wenzel says of the advice. ‘‘I thought, ‘I probably won’t get into marketing from here, so I need to get into a growth industry where I can work my way up the ranks to get the experience’.’’

Wenzel secured a role as a merchandising co-ordinator for a distribution company that was the first to launch prepaid telecommunications products to the market.

‘‘The minute I walked in the door I knew I’d made the right decision,’’ she says enthusiastically. It was a case of, ‘‘I don’t work in marketing per se, but I have access to the department and where I can learn’’. ‘‘I asked questions: ‘Should I be doing more?’ I would try to participate in as many things as possible.’’

Within four years, Wenzel was the marketing manager of her division, and has never looked back.

‘‘I knew two things about myself: one, that I was prepared to do whatever I had to to get where I wanted to go, by way of hard work. The other thing was that I knew that I was willing to wait. I just wanted to make sure I was on the right path.’’

Published: 03 November 2012

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