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My life as a PI Captain

Hi! My name is Sarah and I’m a Captain. I’ll go into what a PI Captain is in a bit, but first, a little about me. 

I am a senior client success manager at The Predictive Index (PI). Since I’m in a player/coach role, my day-to-day is always changing and I love the variety my job brings! I manage a team of client success managers along with my own client list. My team is in growth mode so I often find myself interviewing PI’s next top talent or coaching my team on the best solutions for our clients. On top of managing over 100 clients, I also quarterback many internal, cross-functional decisions to ensure a positive end-user experience.

In a client-facing role, I work with all business units at PI, from the product team to the billings department. It’s critical that I’m able to meet and adapt to their needs and understand what drives them in order to have the best working relationship. Same goes for my team and clients! Luckily, with my PI background and training, I’m able to communicate effectively with people far different than my Captain Reference Profile.

My behavioral pattern

The PI Behavioral Assessment™ essentially reveals where you fall on the spectrum of Four Factors:

1. Dominance: Dominance is the drive to exert one’s influence on people or events.

2. Extraversion: Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people.

3. Patience: Patience is the drive for consistency and stability.

4. Formality: Formality is the drive to conform to rules and structure.

Here’s my pattern: 


To the uninitiated, that behavioral pattern may not mean a whole lot, which is where Reference Profiles come in. All behavioral patterns map most closely to one of our 17 Reference Profiles, which gives us a way to paint the picture of someone’s behavioral drives in broad strokes. You can think of these as easy-to-reference groupings of the characteristics of people who have similar drives.

My Reference Profile is Captain

A Captain is a problem solver who likes change and innovation while controlling the big picture.

I first learned about my PI Reference Profile when I was interviewing with PI and was blown away by its accuracy! Being a Captain, I am independent and motivated by results. I thrive when I am able to successfully influence others, which is why I wasn’t surprised to learn my highest drive is Dominance, the drive to exert one’s influence on other people or events. Something I always keep top-of-mind is my weakest drive, Patience, the drive for consistency and stability. Overall, a fast-paced, ever-changing work environment, where goals need to be met is my kind of place!

“That’s the beauty of PI. We aren’t asking others to adapt to us—we can adapt to those around us to make for the best working environment.”

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Captain coming through!

Throughout my career, I’ve always found myself happiest and most successful in client-facing roles. My favorite moments in these roles stem from closing a big deal, promoting a team member, or retaining a client. Notice how the common denominator there is results? Results were being generated and goals were being achieved. Job functions that yield results, whether it be with people or a product portfolio, bring me pride and satisfaction.

While Extraversion isn’t my highest drive, as a Captain, it’s still considered high. The Extraversion drive comes in handy for sales. You have to be passionate about what you’re selling. You must be a compelling communicator, influential storyteller, and persistent motivator, which is something of a natural talent for me as an individual contributor and as a manager.

Management positions suit me well, as I’m able to see the big picture, delegate the details, and build a strong team dynamic. Sales is the perfect fit for me too because I love being in front of customers; It scratches my itch for variety and communicative problem-solving. Combine the two and you’ll understand why I love my job so much.


The dark side of being a Captain

As humans, it’s always important to remember that self-awareness is key! As a Captain, there are communication styles that I need to keep top-of-mind and adapt in certain situations. Captains have the instinct to speak to those the way we want to be spoken to—direct and to the point. That doesn’t always sit well with Reference Profiles who don’t have as much of the Dominance drive as Captains. This is important for me to keep in mind while I’m coaching my team, delivering feedback, or speaking with a client. I’m careful not to let my natural Dominance control situations where gathering input from others might be the key for more beneficial results.

The same goes for recognition. Public recognition makes me feel proud and is a motivator for me, while for others it makes them cringe! But that’s the beauty of PI. We aren’t asking others to adapt to us—we can adapt to those around us to make for the best working environment. I also have to be careful not to let my low amount of the Patience drive get the best of me. One solution I’ve found is to mutually agree to deadlines with co-workers and clients. It’s allowed me to breathe a bit easier, knowing when to expect an answer or result.


How to work with (and manage) Captains

As a Captain, the biggest thing my manager can give me is autonomy. The thought of a long-term project or assignment doesn’t appeal to me nor does it play to my strengths. I’d prefer short term deadlines and goals. Trusting that I’ll get there my own way doesn’t hurt either. Variety in my workday brings me such a sense of fulfillment, so bouncing from an internal meeting to a client call, to an interview is right up my alley.

Asking for our opinion and allowing for our voice to be heard is something that us Captains appreciate from both our co-workers and managers. Don’t be afraid to confront Captains with the big issues. Challenge us! We like tackling those tough problems.

“I have a whole new appreciation for being able to balance out a team and work with people who can compliment my work and fill in my gaps.” 

I’ve learned to appreciate those who aren’t like me! After all, I married a Guardian! I came to PI after working at a company for 7+ years where I was surrounded by Captains. We got a lot done quickly but there were some details that fell by the wayside, along with countless hot-headed and ineffective conversations. We had tunnel vision and didn’t work collaboratively with other departments.

I have a whole new appreciation for being able to balance out a team and work with people who can compliment my work and fill in my gaps. I’m far more proud of the work I’ve done with those who possess different behavioral needs and drives than me. This is made clear every day when I’m working with clients. They chose a completely different career path than I did, so learning from them and understanding how to connect with them has been invaluable. In my previous role, I was responsible for hiring over 100 people per year. We didn’t use assessment tools and it’s now so clear where we went wrong and why we hired some terrible fits. Self-awareness is invaluable!

Sarah is the director of customer success at PI.

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