My name is Laura and I’m a Maverick. Curious what that means? I was too, but more on that in a minute.
I’m a product manager at The Predictive Index® (PI), responsible for understanding the customers’ needs and translating them into awesome tools to help companies empower employees through self awareness, fostering healthy working relationships, supporting manager development, and building high-performing teams.
This is a very personal and exciting challenge for me, as I spent the better part of the past decade managing people and projects. I know firsthand that people challenges are hard and a one size fits all management model doesn’t work.
My day-to-day is a mix of product visioning, execution of ideas, and stakeholder engagement. I have a lot of meetings with the leadership team, software engineers, product marketing, sales, customers, and the PI Partner Network. I rely on each of these teams to be successful.
My behavioral pattern
I first took the PI Behavioral Assessment™ when I was applying for a job at the company in 2016.
The PI Behavioral Assessment essentially reveals where you fall on the spectrum of four factors:
- Dominance: Dominance is the drive to exert one’s influence on people or events.
- Extraversion: Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people.
- Patience: Patience is the drive for consistency and stability.
- 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 a Maverick.
A Maverick is an innovative, outside-the-box thinker, who is undaunted by failure. We are a venturesome, enthusiastic bunch, who can tolerate the uncertain.
When I first learned about my reference profile, I was incredibly excited—you have to admit, it’s a pretty cool name. When I dug into what it meant, the reference profile really helped me understand myself. Mavericks are characterized as having low formality, meaning we are more spontaneous and flexible. We can adapt. This explains why I always tested authority or wouldn’t follow rules that I didn’t understand or agree with…sorry mom and dad.
“My PI behavioral pattern coaches me to think before I speak and this is something I struggle with, particularly when I’m passionate about something.”
Another characteristic of a Maverick is our high dominance drive, which really resonates with me. Mavericks—and other reference profiles with this high dominance driver are independent and assertive individuals—who are comfortable with conflict and can be competitive. I always have an opinion about how things should be done, and I get energy when my idea becomes the idea and demotivated when my voice isn’t heard. Wanting my voice to be heard is less about ego, and more about my strong belief system (empathy, equity, respect) and my willingness to fight for it.
Maverick coming through!
In my career, I’ve been successful when tasked with gathering information from resources and stakeholders and charging forward. This is because I like gathering and sorting through information, but ultimately I like making decisions. I’m confident in my own ideas, comfortable with the lack of clarity, and unfazed by the lack of consensus. I thrive in an environment where I can think big picture and have the freedom to implement my own ideas.
I’ve also been recognized for my calming and steady presence. This is actually atypical of a Maverick because I have a high patience drive, the drive for consistency and stability. I think this aspect of my pattern helps me assuage fears and build stakeholder buy-in when I do take action. Since I’m a more patient listener than most Mavericks, I am able to listen to everyone’s ideas, weigh both social and logical components, and make a decision without ruffling feathers. As a result, I have been able to effectively tackle long-term projects and help resolve conflict-heavy situations.
I learned about my reference profile during an active attempt to pivot my career. I was so excited because it helps to illuminate both why past jobs just didn’t quite fit and help me narrow my focus on jobs that would. It took me a while to find a good career fit but now that I’ve landed in a product management role, it feels like I’m finally where I am meant to be. Since I myself struggled to find a good career fit, I’m super passionate about helping others find better work faster.
The dark side of being a Maverick
My PI behavioral pattern coaches me to think before I speak and this is something I struggle with, particularly when I’m passionate about something. Early on in my career, I had the opportunity to travel to Boulder, CO for a management meeting. My high dominance drive desperately wanted to contribute and I found myself blurting out items without thinking them through. I left the meeting feeling embarrassed by my contributions and wary that I came across as emotional and rash (and *gasp* young!), rather than persuasive and thoughtful. Over the years, I practiced active listening and have learned to be more strategic about what, when, and how I presented my ideas. This has been an important skill to develop because in the end, it enables me to gain more buy-in and respect, which in turn helps me move my vision forward.
As a Maverick, I tend to test/reject authority, and because of this, it can be hard for me to agree to disagree with someone else’s idea—especially if I don’t understand the “why” behind their ideas. Being in a new role at a new company there is a lot to learn and it can be frustrating to have an opinion without the industry knowledge to back it up. I trust my gut intuition to make decisions but I am aware that I also need to consider data and stakeholder input before forming and selling my vision. I’m actively working on getting up to speed, and as I do, my gut gets smarter, allowing me to act quickly.
How to work with (and manage) Mavericks
Mavericks need to be challenged and we like variety in our work, searching for opportunities to influence and put our stamp on projects and initiatives.
As a Maverick, I need my manager to provide me with two things. The first is independence and control over my day-to-day activities. This helps me feel like I am working towards my own goals and ideas. Secondly, when I don’t agree with a business decision, I need coaching to help me understand the why behind it so I can move forward. I’m lucky to have a manager (also a Maverick) who adapts to give me space or be a sounding board, depending on what I need.
When working alongside Mavericks, just know that we want to take action on our own ideas and initiatives; We tend to take the reins on things. Also, it would be great if you could remind us of the details. We are super goal-oriented, and because of that, we may breeze over the small, but necessary, details
“I feel energized and ready to take on the world.”
My biggest ah-ha moment as Maverick was when I learned about my situational extraversion drive.
On the one hand, this situational extraversion allows me to get my energy from friends and coworkers. I make friends easily, I love intense week-long workshops, and I can be found thinking out loud to my peers to make decisions. Sometimes, after a day of meetings, I feel energized and ready to take on the world.
On the other hand, my lower extraversion tendencies find talking to strangers to be a draining task. I prefer to have strong relationships than new. After those intense week-long workshops I want to hibernate, decompress, and recharge. I often need time to reflect and digest the information before making decisions. Sometimes, after a day of meetings, I want to curl in a ball on my couch and speak to no one.
This dichotomy would often baffle me, but now that I understand my Reference Profile, I can identify the times when I need my team and co-workers to help me recharge and when I need to be alone to recharge. This sort of insight into my natural drives and behaviors gives me permission to do what I need to do to create and produce my best work.