Midlife Career Change

Midlife Career Change Reasons

The Top Career Change Triggers

In our coaching we have found that people want to make a midlife career change for very specific reasons. We have made a short list of these initial midlife career change triggers. To help you get started with a successful, safe and secure career change, please view the video below. In the video master midlife career change coach, Unre Visagie takes you through an introduction of the top reasons.

In careerdevelopmentplan.net we offer the foolproof Career Maker System, which helps people during their midlife career change. I have been there myself and so have many others around me. It takes you from the perceived box on limitations right through to a successful place where we typically see a 20 – 30% increase and we see big moves towards doing work people enjoy with confidence. We would like to see this for everybody.

I have the privilege of having lived there for almost 25 years now. Let us take a brief look at what drive these career changes. We have created a list and we ask you to please consider each item on the list below and start on the road to your successful midlife career change. Should you not find your reason for your midlife career change on this list, which is possible, please help us to help you and others by posting a comment about it and we would love to address the reason with a specific answer as soon as practical or possible. We hope that your change process could start with understanding and defining these reasons, what we call triggers that drive the need for a midlife career change. Once we have found these triggers, you can identify and design a solution that best fits your unique situation.

We have been successfully coaching people through midlife career changes for the past 30 years. In our multi-million dollar companies we were privileged to build, then through professional coaching, also pro bono work at universities, schools and in communities. The process is now really foolproof. In Career Maker Systems we see it as a bridge for people to move from triggers of discomfort and perceptions or interpretations, like being behind a glass plate. They then identify and take the right actions and they never stop moving again. We have people that we have coached for over 30 years, and it never stops.

The solution will be your identified choice of the best work, job, company and industry, to build your ideal, enjoyable career where you never have to feel that you have to work very hard a day in your life, yet you add great value with great income. That’s the goal. We have found three types, three main categories of changes:

  1. The ones that are so urgent they burn
  2. The ones that are just getting warm: “I want to change.”
  3. The ones we can see that will get warm in the future, we know change will be good.

Let us start with urgent change. This typically comes from companies that downsize and industries that change; the key thing is the job may disappear very soon. “I better make a plan before it gets too urgent.” The other way of thinking is:” I had enough of this job.”, “My job sucks.” That’s what we often think. I often found that it isn’t the job so much that sucks; it is the work that sucks. I had situations of people coming to me at work, in my companies, that say: “My husband says that if I don’t change this job soon, he is going to kick me out of here.” We went through the detail, they go back home, they tell a different story, the next day they come back and say: “The husband says I will be a fool if I leave this job.” It is merely a change in thinking.

It is often the work or the way we look at the work that sucks, but something sucks, it has to be changed. Let us look at one of the most urgent needs in our 40’s: I really must earn more money right now. It typically comes from the fact that many issues drive that change. However, what we found more often than not, people are responsible for a whole bunch of upcoming people, they are responsible for people seeing their life out, and even somewhat responsible for people in their current generation who’s not doing so well. The responsibilities at 40 and after 40 could be quite daunting. If you simply want to change because you’re not paid enough, it is often a very simple communication problem, and I like that one because it’s the quickest to address.

Another reason: people frustrate me. This can be for many reasons. Often we find that looking at things a bit differently solves this problem, but often it has gone so far that changing company, or at least changing the vision in a company is practical.

People stay in the same circumstances; mostly they just realize they are not happy, the travel bugs them, the workplace bugs them, the industry bugs them, and there are so many possibilities. They just feel they carry a very heavy weight. To get rid of this weight can be done in a number of ways. A change of company may be necessary, but often it is just a change in perception and looking at things differently.

Let us look at people who are really happy in their job, career and industry, they just need more challenges. This is also a very straightforward process, typically achieved in a few months, that usually leads to a 20 – 30% salary increase within 18 months. Making the change and communicating properly with a proper plan.

There is also the natural change; it’s just a restless feeling, I can do better, I can do more. The other one is that the job has become too easy, it’s repetitive, and repetitive is never good for us. We always say repetitive is like a groove, there’s an old adage that says the difference between a groove and a grave is just the depth. It’s like you are not alive anymore and you need to change that, you need to get out of the groove. It is simply a process that follows the same steps as the others.

In each of these cases the solution consists normally of three broad steps. We apply each of them for change, growth, issues etc. It’s to one way or another identify the root causes, prepare a lot of information and facts, think of possible alternative solutions, communicate that with the right people, and you have a fantastic solution. We find that when a man arrives with this clear insight and a clear plan, he is never refused.

Six years ago at North-West University in South Africa they couldn’t find practical work in the industry for students. Today 700 students find their own practical work simply because they know where they are going, they know why they want it, they can say why and what about a company, why and what about an industry and they talk to the right people. What makes it so exciting, about a third of them get jobs at companies that didn’t even have a position, but when they meet this enthusiastic, sorted-out person they create a job for him.

In summary, I would like to say that a career change can be an exciting experience. The Career Maker System makes it so clear and so easy. It’s not always quick, but it’s always clear and always easy. We call it a secure and safe way towards your ideal work, job, career, company and industry. I really hope you will make your choice and I hope that you will identify one of the items on the list below or please communicate with us, challenge us to see whether we can answer you. I hope one of the videos on the list below will encourage you to stay in the process, and complete it.

Career Change at 40

Is career change at 40 possible?

Let master career coach, Unre Visagie, guide you through the process of getting started with a career change. If you apply these steps, you will create an effective and peaceful start to your midlife career change.

Watch the video below to get started with your career change at 40…

Career Change at 40

We are looking at the subject of career management and career change at the age of 40. I have gone through that myself and looking back at my life I would never have started all those businesses, I would have managed my career towards wealth, fun and profit, if only I knew how at the time. Let us look at typically what defines the age of 40.

If I remember all the people and myself in our companies it is an age of big responsibilities; where we are busy helping the new generation, being responsible for the current generation and its difficulties and we are helping the old generation on its way out. It is something we want to do. It is also the time I am forced to look at the rest of my life, we have found that it always happens around age 40, plus or minus a few years.

We are mid-career when we are in our forties and we have to look at what we are going to do for the rest of our working life. We are often in a trap where I have become my job title and my job title defines me. Whereas I am actually many things: I am a friend, a parent and so many other things. Work is just one of the things I do; it does not define me.

What I am, what I think, what I feel and what is within me define me and work as a small part of me. What I would’ve liked to see when I look back, I would’ve like to have seen that my work was more aligned, with nice challenges, while having fun, earning more money and building wealth. I would have liked to see that I have grown in myself, in what I do, with whom I do it, where I do it, and that I had more choices about it. Choices really are the spice of life.

Let us look at a quick process to define and start your career change at 40.

  • What I would have liked to do differently for all the people in the companies I built over the past 30 years.
  • What have I done in coaching since then have been very successful.
  • Typically, the people that follow this process grow their salaries by 20 or 30% over 18 months.
  • They look at work differently, they approach challenges differently and always respond in any situation to grow their options and increase their choices.

You always have a very big in internal “store” consisting of:

  • Your natural talents,
  • Your work and personal skills
  • Your work and personal relationships

You have built this big store using external resources and internalized it over time. To increase our the process all we have to do is identify what we enjoy doing, what the current situation is, what we feel and what we perceive. We can turn those into prepared action with the aim to engage, it only takes a little bit of effort. We talk to friends, do a bit of research, think about it a bit and then talk to people around us, remembering it is all externally available. All you have to do is get it and make it internal. The actual process consists of:

  1. Identify
  2. Prepare research
  3. Engage, communicate with the world

Where I personally coach people through the Career Maker process, I regularly work with people who never realized that they had choices. I recently had somebody who has so many choices and never realized that he had all these choices. All the choices threatened him, because he saw them as difficult choices to make. When we turned it around and aligned the choices with what he wanted, the choices quickly reduced to two or three. These we investigated and he engaged. He is on his way to double his salary from $150 000 per year to probably $300 000 per year by just looking at things differently, he went external to trusted advisors, and he internalized the advice they gave him. He is now comfortable that the road forward is clear, he knows what to do next.

Outcomes of the Career Maker process

The outcome is that you are organized, you take action and you ensure your growth. Everybody loves a man with a plan. Everybody loves a man who is positive, clear, committed, who finds joy and things to do and contributes. For whom there is always a solution, but at the same time, he clearly knows what work to say no to.

Change is so fast today that you may have to choose again in five years. When you have applied this process a few times, change becomes a simple and fun matter. If you look at your career, the company you choose, the industry you choose, yes you can choose them all, that is for sure. It is just a process of identify, prepare and engage. Go external, bring it internal, and at 40 you typically have most, if not all, of these skills and access to these resources.

The Career Maker Process in Short

When considering a career change at 40, you do not want to jump ship. You want to progressively change ships. Most people at 40 have big responsibilities. You need to view your career change as a process, rather than a moment’s choice.

You will use your current work base to gently shift careers. You do more and more of the work you want to do, and less of the work you do not like doing. I found in my coaching that many people can make small changes in their current careers which leads to them becoming very happy right where they are! They never had to change careers, just recognize the opportunities they already had in their current jobs differently.

If it turns out that someone really must make a career change at 40, they have no obvious opportunities in their current jobs, I coach them to use their current job platform and reach out to external sources of knowledge and opportunity. They do this while they stay at their current job and steadily build connections to the right people and places.

In both cases we need to align the work you want do with the job you want to do in the company you do it, even if you remain with your current company. There are some very simple, easy processes to delegate what you do not like. Well-executed delegation frees your time so that you can focus on the work you want to do. View delegation from the perspective of “Others must grow, do not steal other people’s work”. While you delegate the work you do not want to do, volunteer for the work you want to do. Also, get further expertise outside of the company, in specific places, investing in yourself, or just participating for the benefit of those you want to learn from; grow the skills that let you move the job progressively to what you really want and what aligns with you.

When you are clear on your career, company, industry, work and job in the company, you are on your way to building a long-term career, remembering a job is just something you do on your career road. If you look at a career aim once you are clear about industry, company and yourself, it is so simple to make your career aim visible. Use online tools like LinkedIn to make your career aims visible. You will find that jobs come to you to fit your career aim. The real change happens when in a few months you announce your career aim, your support structure: your family and friends are with you and you are prepared for a career change.  You have done your thing, you have engaged, and you are ready with the resources, to move in the direction of your career aim.

Remember that career aim is something that keeps on moving, because our environment keeps on changing. However, at any one time, you must have a clear career aim. You are going to adapt it to embrace change, love change; change is so exciting for the prepared. Change is so threatening to people who are not prepared, remember that fear of change at 40 is simply facts that present themselves as if they are real and they are actually perceptions. Therefore, if you overcome fear, that nasty four-letter word, you overcome the risk you perceive and the risks are never real.

If you move progressively, you identify, prepare, and engage, you never take a big risk. It is an incremental process, you move towards your career aim. You should probably aim to align your career every two to three years; that is about the change cycle now. New opportunities arrive as the industries move, some disappear and some industries arrive. Humans always need a challenge, a change, remembering that change is as good as a holiday. I hope we have shown you that at 40 there are typically these things happening in peoples’ minds. They can align with what, who, where. They can do a quick start, moving from their basal store, they can organize, take action and grow, and they can align perfectly towards a long-term career aim.

More career change at 40 resources:

Delegation resources:

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Midlife Career Change

We have coached many people from all walks of life through midlife career changes in different companies and in our personal career coaching practice. Eventually we came to a standard template that works for most people thinking of changing careers.

The key issue we found is that many people think they are their jobs. When asked them who they are and most people answered I am a “Doctor”, I am an “IT Professional”, or “I am a Teacher” they in some way link their person to their job or their last qualification.

The specific work you feel you can do the best or want to do the best defines who you are. For example, a project manager answered I am an accountant 20 years ago.

During a midlife career change, it is critical that you know what kind of work you want to do more of and what kind of work you want to do less of.

Exploring what you want to do less of and more of in your new career

If you are clear on exactly what you want, it becomes easy to communicate your “Career Change Message” to the right place and the right people. With a clear message, you can make smooth transition in a midlife career change. You have years of work experience and abilities and these skills are worth much to companies. Even though your current work experience might not overlap 100% with your new direction, your skills and workplace experience is still worth gold.

If you are planning a midlife career change, it is very important to get the exact job you want in the precise industry of your choice and in the geographical area, you want to work. The chances that you will make a major career change again later in your life are small, which makes the career change choices you make now incredibly important.

Remember you are the only steward of your work life, what you do and what you earn. No one else really cares.

Let us begin to get clarity on your mid life career change

First, let me ask you a very important question.

Do you believe you have a choice? It is extremely important you absolutely believe you have choices, be confident in yourself and your life experience. To make a midlife career change is a major move; you need to get your mind in the right place. Your confidence will shine though in everything you do from here on forward.

We truly live in the best time ever in access to knowledge, communication and travel resources.

Now let us follow a process to gain that critical clarity in your communication on the industry and the work you want. Clarity is vital in middle-life career changes.

  1. Which industry do you enjoy working in? Identify the products, services, development, people and the contribution you will make. Be sufficiently clear and be ready to adapt your message with input from others in friends, family and colleagues. Once you are clear on where you want to go, you must clearly communicate how the company, division, team, suppliers and clients you want to join and serve will benefit.
  2. Communicate your message to people you know and ask them to send it to people they know. Identify and engage key people in the company, team of division you want to join. Be clear how the company, division, suppliers and clients will benefit.
  3. Be visible and get involved, engage in the places and work you want to do.

About career change and resumes

Too many people hope their resumes will find work for them. Your resume is important, but it is much more important to be clear on what you want. Before you start writing your resume, get your story straight, know what kind of work you want and be 100% sure in which industry you want to work.

Notes for midlife career changers:

  • Be flexible on starting salary and expectations of compensation for work done.
  • Communicate the work you did before, during and after the tasks above.

Useful tools for career changes:

  • Do a sweep of what you know and who you know.
  • Do a sweep of what is in your diary that does not belong there and say no to the things that does not move you forward.
  • Search for what should be in your diary and schedule it.

What career is right for me? A question we often ask ourselves, whether we are just entering the world of work, considering a midlife career change or have been working for one company for many years. First time career explorers often find themselves overwhelmed by a the magnitude of options available and may, as a result, feel immobilised by a fear of making the wrong decision. Or we might often feel that the answer alludes us in that nothing seems quite right, we like a certain career path for a limited period of time and then we find ourselves bored and uninterested.

Being in either of these scenarios can be super frustrating and may even lead to one feeling a lack of control over the future and experiencing intense disconnection. As uncomfortable as this space may be, it is one where most of us find ourselves in at one stage or another.

The world of work is changing and it is becoming ever more prevalent that we cultivate a creative and dynamic attitude to what it means to forge a career. It comes down to continuous exploration of one’s own interests, aptitudes and talents while linking yourself with compatible work and business opportunities. This might seem like a daunting task, but the process includes some clear steps for you to follow that will add effective career exploration and engagement to your skills set. Finding and following your natural interests should be synonymous with answering the question “What Career is right for me?”

Learn how to equip yourself with tools to better explore and actualise your own potential, transform yourself from a passive passenger into an active participant whether you are currently in a job, looking to change career or planning to start a business.

To identify what career is right for you, you need to know what your core strengths are.

Do a few career tests and career quizzes online to get a good overview. Remember these tests will only give you an overview, these are not results to seen as absolute.

At the end of the day you will decide for yourself what career is right for me.

The right career tests and quizzes will help you

  • Build wealth during careers.
  • Grow your career
  • Choose a new career
  • Find, enter and grow your career.

Quick action steps to take now:

  • Link you with successful people in your career area wider than your company.
  • Learn more about your company’s clients, industry and company.
  • Grow communication skills while you learn more about your natural strengths.

Understand your strengths in the following areas:

  1. Your aptitudes:

Know and communicate you natural strengths

  1. Your interests
  2. Your communication styles

The outcome is that you will grow your core proficiencies and strengths.

Key questions

  • How do we uncover gaps in relationships and make plans to bridge them?
  • What is sociometry with regards to choosing relationships or networks for success?
  • What are social networks?
  • How do we organise sociometric and social networks to understand our choice of relationships?
  • What are the limitations of sociometric data?


By now the career seeker, who is your client, should be aware of his/her opportunities and preferences.  The career seeker should also by now be able to apply the career exploration, discovery and communication processes.

Consider the following case study:

Mpho is considering a midlife career change to grow his contribution to society and earn more. He is struggling to integrate new experiences, interests and relationships.  He needs to build a network consisting of experienced people so that he can learn from them.  Mpho also needs to discover the gaps in the areas of his relationships and make plans and take action to bridge them. We can also state this differently: How do we know what our strengths in relationships are and how can we make plans to grow and apply them?

Mpho visits you as his career guidance practitioner to gain more insight. Using sociometry you are able to help Mpho answer this question: How can he make and apply plans regarding the growth and application of his own strengths in developing required relationships?


Sociometry and social networks are techniques used to explore and become aware of interpersonal relationships throughout existing and new networks. You need to explore the participation of your client in networks and gain insight into current networks through a sociogram.  You might establish that your client

  • does not have insight into the functioning of members in a network
  • does not realise the importance of having access to a network
  • has access to a network/s, but does not utilise this access in his/her favour.

Members of networks use personal data regarding themselves and the purpose of the network to grow their relationships required for their work or goals. PCAR01V/102/2008 and PCAR01V/103/2008 contain tools like the Johari window, which can be used to assess the functioning of the individual within networks. This is to say that they know in which aspect of the group they will function best, be it writing, public speaking, presenting, organising etc. This knowledge can be applied to grow intra personal knowledge and facilitate introspection into your relationships.

Remember that the sociometric and social network processes raise your awareness of your current relationships, why you maintain them and what relationships you require for real success. One of the outcomes of an understanding of the importance of social networks is to build relationships and networks with people of your choice and to learn from them while you share your personal resources (knowledge, experience and values) with them. In this manner, you add value to them, gain from them and create a win-win situation.

Support your preferences of work and industry (selected in PCAR01V) by networking in the next modules. In this unit, we heighten your awareness of current links and networks. You must develop your personal development plan to access and contribute to networks locally, nationally and internationally.

Choose the people you associate with carefully. Partake in activities that will allow you to extend your network in your desired field. This includes the real life projects of which you choose to be a part. These relationships are like capital for future choices and productivity. People in your network are developed through deliberate choice by using your specific traits and preferences. These are principles you should apply throughout your career. Opportunity comes with people and this will help you gain access to both.

Module 2, Unit 4, Activity 1

  1. Open http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociometry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites
  2. Study the sociometric principles and identify how you would use them to increase your levels of success and grow your network.
  3. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search extensively to learn more about the subject. The information will inspire you to think about the manner in which you formulate questions that you ask your clients. It should also create an awareness of the level at which you function.
  4. Discuss with your study colleagues, since each person grows relationships differently!
  5. Useful Sociometric tools can be applied widely in relationship building.
  6. Answer the following:
  • Where and how can you use networking which is aligned with your choices? (Refer to PCAR 01V).
  • How would you cultivate relationships differently from the manner in which your existing work group does? Write down two specific points.
  • Study http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_world_phenomenon and general networking. Investigate the exploration and discoveries of PCAR01V and explore interviews more widely. Discuss your findings with your study group. Practise your newly found skills on them. By doing this you will develop the skills required for effective networking and you will also be able to help your client more effectively.

Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.





On completion of the above task you will begin to understand the importance and value of a network. Networking opens up doors and opportunities that would otherwise be very difficult for you as an individual to access. By building networks you also develop trust relationships and acquire other people’s trusted networks. Your entry and access to people who can contribute to your personal growth, therefore increases exponentially.

Module 2, Unit 4, Activity 2

  1. Refer to your own information from your gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Be the candidate and use your new awareness of social networks to become aware of relationships (existing and required). How would you grow one new relationship that will further your career options while growing awareness of interests, talents, aptitude, industry exposure and work choice?
  3. Write down an open and a closed question that will help you establish how your client can use sociometric principles and networking to grow his/her network. When your client uses these questions, he/she will become aware of the benefits that go with a wide network and good social relationships. .
  4. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.



Each person cultivates relationships differently. Be aware of the differences in your group. All of us have our preferences in how we like to build and maintain relationships e.g. meeting up with people at social gatherings for a drink or two or spending time with the people at your sports club or at the church. All of these are examples of places you can meet people, build relationships and form networks. Add value to others and they will introduce you to people you did not know before who can add value to you.

Module 2, Unit 4, Activity 3

  1. Refer to your own information from your MiCareer Book gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Be the Facilitator and guide the candidate to use his/her new awareness of social networks to become aware of relationships (existing and required).   How would you help the candidate to cultivate one new relationship that will further his/her career options while exploring interests, talents, aptitude, industry exposure and work choice?
  3. Where applicable use Dictionary, Wikipedia or a Google search to clarify words and concepts. Remember that you are exploring and discovering. New information gets you and your client thinking and creates an awareness of where you are.
  4. Write down how you facilitated the networking process to grow the career seeker’s current network to one that is closer to the one needed for success. This will include matching aspects such as interests, talents, aptitude, and industry exposure as well as work choice.
  5. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.


Be aware that the new networks will be limited by current knowledge and abilities to communicate.  Communication skills from PCAR01V/102/2008 and PCAR01V/103/2008 must be emphasised all the time. Let the career seekers emphasise The Johari Window and Transactional Analysis, as you have used them to grow your awareness, to gain knowledge about yourself and to find words to describe that knowledge.

Module 2, Unit 4, Activity 4

  1. Refer to your own information from your MiCareer Book gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Be the Observer while the facilitator in your study group guides the candidate to use his/her new awareness of social networks to become aware of relationships (existing and required).Take note of how people will interact and grow their interpersonal network differently according to their different interests, talents, aptitude, industry exposure and work choice. Observe these differences and remember that you can apply what you witness in your own context and experience as a Facilitator and Candidate.
  3. Where applicable, use Dictionary, Wikipedia or a Google search to clarify words and concepts.  The information will inspire you to think about the manner in which you formulate questions that you ask your clients. It should also create an awareness of the level at which you function.
  4. Write down how you observed and gave feedback during networking with your current and required networks. Also write at least one personal lesson you learned from the experience that you can reapply when building your own and your future client’s networks.
  5. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.


Be aware that the new networks will be limited by current knowledge and abilities to communicate. Communication skills from PCAR01V/102/2008 and PCAR01V/103/2008 must be emphasised all the time. The career seekers will need practise to develop the ability to effectively communicate their aptitudes and talents to prospective employers and develop their career development and support network successfully.


In this unit we discussed sociometrics and social networks to become aware of choices about how to grow people in our networks as a medium to contribute to others. Contributions to others are mostly characterised by reciprocity: what you do to others, they do to you. You never require permission to make contributions to others. Contribution earns you and your clients access to resources and opportunities as explained in PCAR03X (Module 3).

In PCAR01V, Unit 4, we examined the use of networking to determine required access to industries and work skills. The practical application of sociometrics and social networks in PCAR03X will require you to refer back to this module. Always refer to relevant local and international websites, compare, and learn from the ones you used in this course and the ones you will use in the future.


A person’s current Interest inventory is directly related to his or her exposure to work choices and the language of work. Growing the Interest inventory means exploration, discovery and exposure to work opportunities in many growth trends within selected industries.  People are the only experts on their own interests. Everyone should repeatedly learn to explore, discover and connect to new work that can grow new careers. This is a recipe you repeat for increasing financial and personal growth for the rest of your life. This process will help you clarify your goals and where you want to go with your career, especially if you are cinsidering a midlife career change.

So, how do you align your work with your field of interest?  Look out for the following aspects:

  1. Choose a growth industry that interests you most.  Choose work that you would enjoy doing within that industry. It becomes easier as you get more exposure to terms, opportunities and the workplace.
  2. Everyone knows intuitively what he or she enjoys most: working with people, things or being creative. People know whether they like new projects, like to join new projects, like working in established projects, finish projects or maintain what is already working.
  3. Past decisions to get involved in home and school projects give strong indications of your basic work interests. Your past decision will assist you in finding the trigger words to get you started.
  4. Current awareness of interests is closely linked to a person’s natural personality combined with his or her current knowledge built up by previous exposure to knowledge, experiences and the workplace. Exercises that give exposure quickly changes ones expressed interests.
  5. Interest cannot be considered on its own, but must be taken in conjunction with the other aspects of the module. (Please refer to the puzzle at the beginning of the Module 1, Unit 1. It also appears in Module 1, Unit 2).

Choosing work involves various personal aspects: a person’s interests give some motivation and direction to his or her personality. Interests will also determine the amount of enthusiasm with which one will continue with an activity. It is therefore very important to consider interests when career choices are made throughout one’s working life.


Gous and Jacobs (1985:79) define interest as a psychological state of the personality, which creates a tendency, striving or driving-force towards an object, cause, or ideal, which is of importance to the person.  Also of importance are the person’s emotions, which can influence the strength of an interest.

Read the Wikipedia Introduction to interest inventory

Interest can also be described as an aspect of the personality, which is directly influenced by its physical, psychological and spiritual constitution.  It is obvious that a person’s current health, physical strength and skills influence his or her abilities to do certain work and emotional drive (motivation).  These factors along with others integrate to influence a person’s interest and related choices.

In order to expand the career seekers’ awareness of interests, you should guide them to use an interest inventory to keep on expanding awareness while they explore and discover more interests and related career choices. Make sure they understand the words and concepts while they complete the tests. Use Google search and Dictionary to establish the meaning of words and concepts.


The career seeker’s intuitive feeling, together with current exposure guides the choices to integrate all the factors. Family and friends know much about your responses and behaviours. Always apply the Johari window to structure the sharing of what you have discovered or know, with friends and family who may not yet know. You also explore and discover what others know and you don’t!

When answering an interest inventory you should be careful that the answers to the questions do not only focus on your feelings and ambitions within certain areas. The answers should reflect your true interests.  The review of past choices of activities and the use of the interest inventory to explore and discover may only give a report of your current interests as you see them at present. It is therefore important to ask other people (such as parents, friends, teachers, etc) to give their evaluation of your interests.

The explored and discovered interests will create an awareness of what you would be happy doing and in which area your motivation is likely to be the strongest.  It is useful if you can relate your interest to some or other activity, e.g. a love of animals, a tendency to spend your time drawing pictures, etc.  Interests seem to develop around the things you are good at and to which you have had exposure.  An interest pattern may give an indication of possible work choices leading to careers. It is important to have insight into the requirements of that field of study, e.g. you may love animals and want to become a veterinary surgeon but lack aptitude in the natural sciences. You can still work in the veterinary industry in many other management and support careers.

Interests tend to develop with exposure whereas aptitude and other personality characteristics evolve very slowly with practice. It is therefore easier and quicker for you to adapt or change your interests.  If you faced the veterinary career problem, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, it may mean you can still work with animals. You just have to make adjustments and find an alternative career while still working with animals.  You might even have to look at acquiring gap bridging proficiencies to access the work of your choice. Firstly, spend time with people in the field you want to access.

We will use the Internet Career Connection web site as an information and experiential learning site.

Ensure you agree on the meaning of words and concepts by using information from an online dictionary and Wikipedia. Make exploration and discovery a lifelong activity!

Module 1, Unit 4, Activity 1

  1. Open www.iccweb.com (Click on the drop down menu called “Department” scroll down and select “Career focus 2000 career interest inventory.”
  2. Be the candidate and do your quick Interest inventory awareness exploration and discovery.  Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or Google and search extensively. Remember you are exploring and discovering! The information gets us thinking and creates an awareness of where we are.
  3. What did you and your friends agree upon? Write down two specific points.
  4. Where did you disagree and why?

It is normal to agree and disagree since the test is very specific to certain circumstances and cultures, which may differ from yours.  South African society is multicultural and thus we must be very good at knowing what we like and what we do not like. Similar to developing skills in soccer or sport through interactive exercises, you develop clarity by sharing your insights with others.

Capture the personal experiences, discoveries and answers to the questions in your MiCareer Book.

Module 1, Unit 4, Activity 2

  1. Repeat the web site above as the facilitator, and let a new candidate in the group of three do their quick natural aptitude awareness exploration and discovery. The other one is the observer.  The information gets us thinking and creates an awareness of where we are.
  2. What did you and your friends agree upon? Write down two specific points.
  3. Where did you disagree and why?

It is normal to agree and disagree since the test is very specific to certain circumstances and cultures, which may differ from yours.  South African society is multicultural and thus we must be very good at knowing what we like and what we do not like. Similar to developing skills in soccer or sport through interactive exercises, you develop clarity by sharing your insights with others.

Capture the personal experiences, discoveries and answers to the questions in your MiCareer Book..

Module 1, Unit 4, Activity 3

  1. Repeat the above activities.
  2. Be the observer and scribe and let a new candidate and facilitator in the group of three do the quick natural aptitude awareness exploration and discovery. The information gets us thinking and creates an awareness of where we are.
  3. Observe and act as scribe for the activity and career books. Give structured feedback. (What is feedback? Look it up on Wikipedia and Dictionary.
  4. What did you and your friends agree upon? Write down two specific points.
  5. Where did you disagree and why?

It is normal to agree and disagree since the test is very specific to certain circumstances and cultures, which may differ from yours.  South African society is multicultural and thus we must be very good at knowing what we like and what we do not like. Similar to developing skills in soccer or sport through interactive exercises, you develop clarity by sharing your insights with others.

Capture the personal experiences, discoveries and answers to the questions in your MiCareer Book.

Repeat the candidate, observer and facilitator exercises with the following fun activity. You can share the exercise at home and with friends to grow your insights and experiences. Remember to structure your communication with the concepts from the Johari Window in Tutorial Letter PCAR01V/103/2008.

Module 1, Unit 4, Activity 4

  1. Do the VAK check and become aware of the differences in working and learning techniques.
  2. Could you identify and confirm each other’s preferences from your responses and actions, during the above exercises?  Awareness of a preference in learning styles is important. You must be aware to adapt and assist people with different styles.
  3. Use the same process to bridge gaps. Give an example of where you required a chosen ability or experience and got the knowledge and experiences using the above identified learning trait.

You now know how to repeat the activity for the roles of candidate, facilitator and observer. Try using the roles in this activity.  Capture the personal experiences and discoveries, and answers to the questions in your MiCareer Book.

Use this exercise and many like it as free marketing tools for fun and to grow and mobilise clients for your practice.

Facilitating increased exposure through exploration and discovery will expose interests evident in your past choices.  Your interests should be aligned with growth opportunities, resources and simple steps to gain access to work opportunities where you can contribute more which coincides with earning more. It will make it easier for you to master a wider variety of knowledge and experiences. Should you not enjoy reading, work with someone who does and then discuss the content with him or her. You can help them verbally and they can help your reading. Always use your natural abilities to assist others with other aptitudes to help them to achieve the same balance as what they give to you.

However, for your purpose, the skills can be acquired to access any or most opportunities of your choice.


People require regular response to changes in the industry. Repeating the exploration and discovery processes allows people to find new growth careers with ease. Most people will be comfortable to come back to the self-exploration and discovery guides.

Simply repeat the above exploration and discovery processes as you will understand them in more depth and with increased awareness. Apply the same concept to all the processes and exercises you encounter in this course. You will find that your point of view and increased understanding will change the way in which you view yourself and the processes

Although some interests stay with you for most of your life, it is important to realise that they may change with increased exposure, opportunity and access to resources. Interests are never cemented in time. Things that were once a passion may lose their attraction when you get older.  It is therefore essential that you think of current growth in your career and earnings and keep on reviewing them. Be very responsive and aware of changes. You will notice a loss of motivation and other signals, such as work becoming an effort instead of fun! When this happens, implement the exploration and networking processes.

Think of someone who starts out playing soccer. Later he or she may change from playing to organising soccer or a team, promotion, coaching or administration. The same happens in all industries and sport. People naturally seek new interests as their lives progress. When one considers the career of professional sports people, one realises that they can only take part in competitive sport for a limited time and then naturally move on to the next interests related to the same sport or even new careers.  They explore, discover and develop other related interests. The same happens in most careers.

Activity: Find someone who changed career interests and discuss the changes with them. Develop your understanding of how dynamic interests and careers interests really are.


The opportunities and types of work are much wider today than ever before and are changing all the time. As more opportunities come to the forefront more opportunities become available. Can you see how this process can be self-propagating up to the point where it can end unemployment? There is therefore work for everyone when they know and acquire competencies to be employable.

Careers develop from work. Careers are chosen by consciously choosing your work involvements. Due to the rapid changes and new growth opportunities, very few people end up doing what they studied. The studies are simply a valuable formal entry to the current work place.

You will find many interest inventories on the web and locally from job assessment companies.

Qualified professionals use models like the Human Science Research Council’s 19 Field Interest Inventory (19FII). This instrument is widely used (but only by qualified people who are registered with the South African Medical and Dental Council) to determine a person’s interest fields.  Gous and Jacobs (1985:81-84) use the 19 Field Interest Inventory and apply it to the four main areas of study, namely the Humanities, the Natural Sciences, the Biological Sciences and the Commercial Sciences.  They also concentrate on technical directions and outdoor life.  The purpose of this classification is to make it easier to relate interests to the same three main areas that were identified for classification of aptitudes.  As a career guide practitioner, you drive exploration and discovery as a lifelong process. Exploration and discovery is best served by using web based low cost and free tests. It brings your client international, national and local exposure and the discovery of work based in wider geographic areas, matched to specific interests.



Often school leavers show interests based upon subjects taught by their best teachers.

Connect him or her with what they really enjoy about the subject rather than the subject itself. Our potential soccer player enjoyed physical games and tasks. The career candidate must then explore and discover as widely as possible. They must meet people in the various industries to gain experience. Only the career candidate can choose in which industry he or she would like to get involved. The career guide can only guide the exploration and discovery processes. Use the web based processes to explore, discover, and widen exposure. Connect the career seeker with their interest and industry of choice, and expand their choices. Should the career seeker be very uncertain in their choice, grow their certainty with web exploration and discovery techniques.


We discuss the process to help verify real interest.

A true test is to experience the interest area in real life. Please refer to networking in PCAR01V/102/2008 and connect the client to real exposures of their expressed interests.

People are often attracted to one aspect of a career e.g. if a person likes animals and outdoor life as a hobby, a career such as farming, veterinary science or nature conservation may sound ideal.  These careers take on a different perspective as a full-time, lifelong occupation.  One has to try to distinguish between those interests that make satisfying hobbies and those which offer good career possibilities.

Another influence, which needs to be considered, is that some people have not been exposed to many fields of interest.  If one considers that there are family traditions regarding career choices, then the influence of exposure/familiarity with a specific field or lack thereof, is clear.  The following illustration shows what is meant:

Be careful not to be prejudiced when judging a specific career. Most young people fear having to sit behind a desk.  An active, preferably adventurous career is much more appealing.  What people do not realise is that many careers develop in such a way that they will end up behind a desk for at least part of the time.  For example, a good doctor could become the superintendent of a hospital; a geologist may become a mine manager; an electrician may end up as a works manager of a big plant.

As people are settled in their careers and grow in confidence, they become better prepared to take up leadership or managerial positions.  Sometimes as they climb the career ladder, other needs and interests develop.  For example, an engineer might end up doing more management than engineering after a few years.  Thus, he or she needs managerial skills and possibly will be interested in acquiring them.

Take your own areas of interests and apply the questions below to your own situation. Determine for yourself which your real interests are and which might just be of a passing nature.

Some of the questions one could ask oneself to determine whether an interest is real, are the following:

  • How long have I been interested in this activity?
  • Have I been overcome by the glamour of the activity?
  • What are the physical and academic demands involved in the specific activity?
  • Have I previously experienced intellectual problems with similar activities?
  • Am I really motivated to undertake this activity and succeed with it?
  • Can I feel at home with the environment or culture where I may eventually find myself?
  • Is this interest in line with my long-term planning for my future?
  • Do my friends/parents/teachers see this interest reflected in my life?
  • How many interests have I been exposed to?

Module 1, Unit 4, Activity 5

  1. Verify the interest and the growth with the exploration and discovery exercises on the Internet.
  2. Find White Papers, magazines, Ezines, exhibitions and associations. To achieve this you must use the internet and type the keywords describing your interests, aptitudes, preferences and traits from previous exercises, into the Google search engine.  Type your interest word/s alongside words like white paper, magazine, ezine, exhibition, association.  What do you find? (The information will help you realize deep interests versus casual interests. Strong interest will release energy that keeps you going to read, study, discuss and engage working people. The career seeker should join Ezines, news feeds and other sources of information to get her linked to work in their industry of choice.)
  3. Ask at least two people in your family or among your friends the above questions.

Capture the personal experiences and discoveries, and answers to the questions in your MiCareer Book.

It is very important to be honest with yourself about how you feel about a certain activity, matter or subject when trying to establish your real interest(s).  It is also true that a person’s interest pattern is not static and may change with learning and experience.  This is one of the reasons why we speak of a career path.  Not only does the individual change, but also the circumstances, the environment and society. Moreover, technological advances also open up new possibilities.



Carefully choose the interests you want to develop further. Summarize the interests in your MiCareerBook. Remember to state why you chose the particular interests.

In future, you will help the career seeker (Your client) to explore and discover and apply their interests. The career seeker will choose interests they want to develop and implement an access plan which you will develop during Module 4.


From the discussion, it is clear that one does not necessarily fit into a specific area but can have a number of different interests. It is important to establish which areas of interest are the most important and to make a work access choice that will lead to career choices aligned with the interests. Your motivation will be higher when your interests go together with all the other aspects (personality, ability, values, etc.)

Update: Click here if you are considering a midlife career change.

Find and grow careers of your choice or be able to change careers.

It is freely available!

Peer group leader makes money?

Workshop for mobilized peer groups. PoE included.

Then a peer group leader takes over workshops country wide.

Readingsoft document for fluency in the career area.

Vendor documentation.

The processes will let you will:

  1. Get the tools, knowledge and processes to enter any career
  2. Get connected to companies with the work place of your choice.
  3. Grow in the work place of your choice.
  4. Sustain your knowledge by practicing the processes with people around you.

Implement the following processes for a career you want or thought of. The processes will get you ready to search for your personal matched ideal career in an industry that is growing.

The same processes are applied to any or all careers, study choices and changing careers! Once you experienced the process you can apply the processes to implement any choice or change in careers.

The www.ebio.co.za web site and services support you through your work life career growth and changes.

Processes that get you ready to choose and enter any career.

1.        Find access to the Internet. 1


3.        Information on Marketing careers 2

4.        Find work experience in the career of your choice: 3

5.        Accelerate with groups 4

6.        Accelerate with the organized web coaching. 4

7.        Repeat the processes for any career or career change. 4

8.        Related careers 4

1. Find access to the Internet.

Access Internet by asking someone you know; someone you know who knows someone; a business in the nearest town or your municipality offices.

(If you have access to Internet, make sure you have the internet assistance to do the career processes.)

(On the web sites: Grow your income and career faster and more certain: On ebio and Treetop you can signup for FURTHER assistance coaching you to gain knowledge, find work access, gain competencies and keeping the job. R100 per month you join groups on Skype or telephone to be assisted in advanced processes to learn and grow competencies. You keep on accelerating with us. Get coached for life to handle your boss, grow careers and even start businesses once you are experienced in the industry!)


  • Let a person who knows Internet help you search for information on the career you want at this time.
  • Let them help you to type, click and drag. You learn to use computers and the Internet! Have a look at: http://www.ebio.co.za/toolbox/how-to-access-the-internet.html
  • Let them help you get a Gmail address as on http://www.ebio.co.za/toolbox/internet-and-computer-basics.html#gmail
  • Open an email, address it yourself and use the space to capture what you find.
  • You will send it to yourself and Google will keep it safe forever.
  • You will use the information by repeating the steps as you grow.
  • Work in small groups of three to help each other grow. Advance the group processes with http://www.ebio.co.za/toolbox/group-processes.html

You can grow by helping others do the same process you did.

Remember that

  • Once started any career, you can always change since you know how to.
  • You will grow your knowledge, relationships in the industry of choice and start working – guaranteed!
  • You will find all the tolls you require to bridge any gaps.
  • You will formalize and accelerate your career with formal education.

Examples for many careers are given. If your interest is not in the list, follow the procedure from any example while you use words describing your own interests.

3. Information on Marketing careers


Use Google search – it is clean and does not bombard you with useless popups and interference.

Let your guide help you with typing “Marketing careers” into Google search. Find sites that help you understand more about what it is you chose. Use the Dictionary site to understand all English words. Use Wikipedia to understand the concepts and learn more from the concepts mentioned on the web pages.

Sites for Marketing we found that get you started






Find books and magazines you can use in groups to learn from.

Join the associations of your choice and learn with them.

See extra processes on www.ebio.co.za that let you learn with commitment and easier.

4. Find work experience in the career of your choice:

Use Google search and Telkom yellow pages to find real businesses in your area or nearest area where such businesses exist.

Use the standard letter to ask them to be useful in basic services like cleaning, tool carrying, and coffee making. Do anything that will make you useful and them to like you! The letter includes your purpose is purely to be useful while you learn – it is not a job and has no risk of employment consequences to the business.

Ask the people around you key questions about the work and the business to get involved and noticed while you learn.

Contribute basic work “free so that you can learn” for a number of days at one business and move to the next business if you are not moving forward in learning. Observe what they do and ask them to show you to do it so that you can be more useful to them.

Soon they will start paying you for being useful.

You chose the job, the career and the business that you want to learn about working with people in business.

Find a project to start marketing a local business, shop, organization and more!

5. Accelerate with groups

You find or meet people with similar industry interests to learn interactively with them.

In groups you access sources of expertise and keep each other going.

Peer group learning is a well known process – get ready for it and use it.

Group processes on http://www.ebio.co.za/toolbox/group-processes.html


6. Accelerate with the organized web coaching

On www.ebio.co.za you can identify gaps and bridge the gaps in language mastery, numeracy mastery, communication skills, self-exploration and much more!

Look at criteria for most jobs on www.bls.org in the USA.

With your email address you can signup on www.ebio.co.za – it is free!

Signup on www.Treetopsouthafrica.com to get further assistance – it is free! The first coaching is included when you signup!

7. Repeat the processes for any career or career change.

You grow your life income as you gain knowledge, experience and education. The effort you put in will be rewarded in higher life income.

Calculate your own expectations of your work life income:


8. Related careers

You should have found related careers on the web sites you choose.

Here are examples!

www.bls.org careers

Who should use this free resume template?

This free sample resume gives you a full and detailed resume template to work from. Use this template if you are applying for senior positions or if employers ask for detailed work history.

Click here to download the Free Microsoft Word version of this resume.

Click here to go back to the “Free Sample Resume” page for different resume templates.

This template will be very useful if you are considering a midlife career change


Business-Project Process Management and Consulting


Cell: 123456

Fax: 123456

Date: September 9, 2005.

Attention: To whom it may concern

Experience and Skills history – Name and Surname

This document may be viewed as a complete Resume with the addition of experience and skills acquired and applied description of roles, and description of projects which I’ve been involved with since the start of my career.

Career summary:

  • Software engineer
  • Support engineer
  • Project manager
  • Implementation consultant manager
  • Programme manager
  • Project Director
  • Business-Project process management and consulting
  • Managing Director
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Also acted as:
  • Chairman of the board
  • Technical operational director


Name and Surname

1.   1977 until 1986 – Employed by Company X NEW YORK, USA……………. 3

2.   1987 to 1999 – Employed by Company X, SA………………………………………… 3

3   1999 to 2001 Self Employed…………………………………………………………….. 4

3.1    Clients:……………………………………………………………………………………… 4

3.1.1  Company X – Period May’99 until Dec’00…………………………………………….. 4

3.1.2  Company X – Period Jan’00 until Jul’00………………………………………………. 5

3.1.3  Company X and Company X – Period Jan’00 until Dec’00………………………….. 5

3.1.4  Company X – Period Aug’00 until Dec’00…………………………………………….. 6

3.1.5  Company X – Period Sep’00 until (expected completion date Mar’03)…………… 7

3.1.6  Company X – Period Jan’01 until Jul’01………………………………………………. 7

4   2001 to 2003  -Company X…………………………………………………………………. 8

4.1    Managing Director Company X – Period Jul’01 to Feb’03……………………………. 8

5   2003 to Date Self Employed…………………………………………………………….. 8

5.1    Clients:……………………………………………………………………………………… 8

5.1.1  Company X – Period Mar’03 to Jan’04………………………………………………… 8

5.1.2  Company X – Period Jan’04 to Date…………………………………………………… 9

6   Roles, Responsibilities and skill set……………………………………………… 9

6.1    Project Engineer role:……………………………………………………………………. 9

6.2    System Architect role:…………………………………………………………………… 9

6.3    Validation/Deployment manager role:………………………………………………… 10

6.4    Financial and Contractual manager role:…………………………………………… 10

6.5    Managing Director role/responsibilities:………………………………………….. 10

6.6    Chief Operating Officer role/responsibilities:…………………………………….. 11

7   Client, Project and/or System description:………………………………….. 11

7.1    Company X Vanderbijlpark – Energy Control System……………………………….. 11

7.2    Richards Bay  – Coal Terminal Management System…………………………………. 11

7.3    Umgeni Water – Crises Management System………………………………………….. 12

7.4    Company X – Product Packing and Storage System…………………………………. 12

7.5    Company X and COMPANY X – ERP Solution…………………………………………… 12

7.6    Company X – Network Management System……………………………………………. 13

7.7    Company X – Network Management System……………………………………………. 13

7.8    Company X – Consultant to board…………………………………………………….. 13

7.9    Company X – Automated and Integrated HR & Payroll System…………………….. 14

7.10   Company X – ERP Maintenance & Stores System……………………………………… 14

7.11   Company X – COO………………………………………………………………………….. 15

  1. 1977 until 1986 – Employed by Company x.
  • Completed 2 year army as an Engineer (mines and demolitions)
  • Studied higher diploma Computer Science as well as BSC Computer Science.
  • Implement a monitor and control system for the Energy Control Centre (ECC) at Company X VdCompany X.

(Please note a very high level overview of this system in the description of projects and systems at the end of this document).

  1. 1987 to 1999 – Company x.
  • Appointed at Company x as a Software Engineer: As a Software Engineer, I was either involved and/or responsible for:
    • technical assistance during bid/tender phase,
    • design and development of the systems (mostly industrial related, i.e. real time monitor and control systems for the industrial industry),
    • installation, commissioning and roll-out of these systems,
    • support during warranty/guaranty period.
    • Support Service Division: I created/started this section within Company X after which I managed the internal and external support services, personnel, infrastructure, support contracts with both suppliers and clients, and the update and installation of new releases. This service included:
      • office PC’s/workstations and network,
      • mini production servers for clients e.g. HP400 to 900,
      • operating systems such as Unix,
      • application and development software such as Fortran,
      • data bases such as Informix, etc.
      • The personnel included help desk operator, 1st and 2nd line technical experts on call, suppliers for 2nd and 3rd line support.
      • Implementation Consultation for Prism (ERP products, currently called Protean): We were the agents for this product, supplied by Marcam (Boston, America). I was appointed Implementation Consultant manager and was responsible for:
        • Selling of this service to clients,
        • training and grooming of the consultants,
        • recruitment of consultants and other resources such as technical support personal, and
        • responsible for business results.
        • Chairman of Company X Holding’s board for 1 year.
        • Project manager for Company X and for Clients: My responsibility included:
        • the quality, time, budget, and resource management,
        • conflict management (internal teams, client, and supplier conflicts),
        • report to the business unit and Company X board re. progress, risks, planned initiatives, etc.,
        • sub-contractor management, and
        • financial and contractual terms and conditions.
        • I was responsible the following projects (varies between R4m up to R25m):
        • Upgrade of Energy Control Centre Company X Vanderbijlpark
        • Monitor and control system for Richards Bay Coal Terminal
        • Monitor and control system for Umgeni Water
        • Monitor and control system for Company X
        • ERP Business solution (Prism) for Company X and COMPANY X
        • Telecomms Network Management system for Company X
        • Telecomms Network Management system for Company X
        • Fraud detection system for Company X

3      1999 to 2001 Self Employed

3.1    Clients:

3.1.1  Company X – Period May’99 until Dec’00

The Company X group included the following sub-groups/businesses at the stage when involved with them:

  • Company X knowledge Systems
  • Speble Identification International
  • Channels Measurement Services
  • Erlang Communications

I was responsible for implementing the following processes, procedures, roles/resources, etc. within the group across all projects and to integrate across all other companies and/or subsidiaries:

  • Define project phases and deliverables per phase.
  • Identify owners for each process to develop and improve.
  • Project cash flow for the company with risks.

Understand and manage the impact of the projects on company and initiate risk preventative initiatives.

  • Provide production reports to the board consisting of:
    • Key Success Factors – Monitor and manage initial business reasons of the project.
    • Earned value graphs
    • Financials and Baseline
    • High level project and cash flow schedules
    • Risks and risk preventative initiatives
    • High level progress: activities planned vs. actual
    • Client and Supplier relationships
    • Team (health, efficiency and allocation)
    • Create and manage partnerships with local and international companies (project specific).

My current involvement with Company X is on an ad hoc basis when required.

3.1.2  Company X – Period Jan’00 until Jul’00

Company X manufactures all the HTH products for the South African market. Their client base consist of the big retailers such as Pick and Pay, as well as other non-commercial companies where clean water plays an important role such as Escom (main producer of electricity in SA), all the municipalities, etc.

I was responsible for the implementation of the ERP system, supplied by Wonderware, called Protean and include the following modules:

  • Production
  • Maintenance
  • Procurement
  • Customer Order Management
  • Financials
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Enterprise Management
  • Integration of all of these modules.
  • Upgrade to the latest version including hardware.
  • Final sign-off by Managing director, Directors or Managers of Production, Sales, Maintenance, etc. and Final audit of the company by external auditors.

At the stage when Company X contacted me, they were at the point to “throw” the system out due to the fact that they did not manage to get the expected services from their suppliers (local implementation and international product suppliers). The key success of this project was dependant on implementing formal processes by which the suppliers and the client (internal staff and management), can be managed to ensure clear and calibrated expectations for all parties involved and to manage the deliverables and milestones as per the agreed schedules and budgets.

3.1.3  Company X and Company X – Period Jan’00 until Dec’00

Company X and Company X contracted me as project director to “rescue” a project for them (they being the prime contractors), in Tanzania for the Government of Tanzania. Charles Kendall (UK) was the sponsor (financial) and Company X and Company X subcontracted the implementation of the HR and Payroll system to a local company in Tanzania. This project was way over budget and not going anywhere due to politics and a huge mismatch in expectations.

My responsibility was to implement the formal processes by which the project can be managed with appropriate penalties when any delays were caused by any of the parties (client included), and to resolve the conflict within the group.

3.1.4  Company X – Period Aug’00 until Dec’00

Richemont contracted me as Business Process Manager for Company X/Supersensor responsible for delivery of the project against the defined Key Success Factors (see below):

Key Success Factors (KSFs):

To ensure clearly defined and agreed to deliverables, initiate appropriate action to complete these deliverables and report on progress to the board. The key objective was to ensure that a clear baseline is defined within the period of 3 months, after which the board can define and agree on a 3-year business plan. Any processes used will be transferred to the existing management team to monitor and manage the rest of the project/business.

These deliverables can be summarised as follows:

  • Supersensor board, funding committee and management teams – clear and agreed roles, responsibilities, meetings and venues, and reporting structure.
  • Product definition – Clearly defined:
    • Design objectives based on the perceived market requirements,
    • Product Specification (PS) based on the design objectives and technical product requirements,
    • Test and Validation Procedures (TVP) for each function as defined in the PS,
    • Field trials and pilots to validate the expected results as defined in the TVPs and to demonstrate key functionality required for 1st prospects, and
    • User and training documentation and material.
    • The following were documented based on board input/requirements, external surveys and expertise:
      • Competitor analysis.
      • Prospect list and Sales forecast.
      • Marketing plan.
      • Supersensor business plan.
      • Wealth unlocking plan.
      • Partners and subcontractors plan/strategy.
      • A detailed project plan was provided based on the 3-year business plan.
      • Expenditure budget was aligned with the project/business plan.

In additional to this, I also acted as the Technical COO of Supersensor to ensure that:

  • The Supersensor operations are managed and executed to ensure that the product(s) are tested (benchmark/factory testing, pilot/field testing, and customer/application testing), after which the results were provided to the board.
  • Management and reporting of the administrative services (financial and HR).
  • Execute appropriate action to incorporate the administrative services of Company X (financial and HR subcontractor) in the management processes of Supersensor and thereby enabling Company X to contribute to the successful commercialisation of the Supersensor technology and business.
  • Address the Company X application development which may utilise the joint technology, expertise and intellectual value of the parties (Company X and Supersensor).

The key success factor here was to provide the exact status of the product to enable the board to make informed business decisions.

3.1.5  Company X – Period Sep’00 until (expected completion date Mar’03)

Company X has contracted me as programme manager for the implementation of a HR and Payroll system (R30m). The suppliers are Company X and Company X and are responsible for:

  1. Product design, configuration and implementation – Company X.
  2. Data conversion and cleanup – Company X
  3. Reports and Forms – Company X
  4. Interfaces to all financial, time & attendance, and HR systems – Company X
  5. Architecture and Infrastructure (operational & reporting servers, network, and user workstations – 50,000 employees)
  6. Unit, Integration and User Acceptance Testing – Company X
  7. User Education and training – Company X
  8. Internal and External Audits to ensure that the employees is protected as prescribed by law, e.g. tax, working conditions, etc. – Company X & Company X
  9. Change management – Company X

10. Organisation restructuring – Company X

11. Business Re-engineering – Company X

12. Competency based management – Company X

Each of the above are projects in their own and being managed by a project manager reporting to me. My main responsibility is overall project and programme management reporting to Company X board and Company X SteerCom and board.

3.1.6  Company X – Period Jan’01 until Jul’01

I’ve been contracted by Company X to fulfil the role as director projects for all their local and international projects.

  • Immediate responsibilities:
    • Company X – Project Director/Manager.
    • Monthly project reviews – all projects in Company X.
  • Long term objectives/responsibilities (to grow and improve Company X’s project management capability and capacity:
    • Processes.
    • Project management offices (local and international).
    • Training (project managers).
    • Recruitment and Contracting of project managers.
    • Escalation path for all projects.
    • “Rescue Pty Ltd” where required.
    • General – part of Company X’s senior management team.

4      2001 to 2003  -Company X

4.1    Managing Director Company X – Period Jul’01 to Feb’03

Company X approached me to accept the role as Managing Director of Company X due to the fact that I was managing 90% of the resources and finances of Company X as a result of my responsibilities re the Company X project and Project Director role stated above.

During this period we achieved the following:

  • Company turnover growth: R2m pa to R28m.
  • Staff growth: 10 to 35.
  • Business / market sector: Secured 1st of the bigger players in the Financial and Mining industries – FNB bureau with possible growth of 800,000 employees and Company X with 50,000 employees. Previously in the 500 – 2000 employee payroll arena.
  • Added Project Implementation, Consultation, and Support structures and methodologies within the company.

5      2003 to Date Self Employed

5.1    Clients:

5.1.1  Company X – Period Mar’03 to Jan’04

COMPANY X has contracted me for specific project(s) and assignments as defined below:

As Project Manager for the Company X Avantis Plant Maintenance & Stores System (Houston USA):

  • Project scope definition and management
  • Project budget definition and management
  • Project schedule definition and management
  • Project subcontractors and resource (COMPANY X) management
  • Client management (project scope and implementation)
  • Project change control
  • Project scope change
  • Steering Committee reviews and report back
  • Project invoicing (through COMPANY X)
  • Approval of any expenses (within agreed project scope)


  • Involvement within the COMPANY X project management group in order to improve project management disciplines and processes.
  • Involvement with COMPANY X management / business with the intent to secure additional projects in order to utilize the Contractor’s time optimally.

5.1.2  Company X – Period Jan’04 to Date

KSS contracted me on a full-time basis in the capacity as Chief Operating Officer responsible for the following:

  • Finance and Admin,
  • Sales and
  • Technical Services.

The main objective / reason for my involvement with KSS is to be the Managing Director’s (also main shareholder of KSS), 2-IC / “partner” in all aspects of the business ensuring that the operation is aligned with the strategic objectives and that processes are being implemented / enhanced to support these objectives.

More detail re KSS and COO responsibilities are defined under the following headings in this document:

  • Roles, Responsibilities and Skill Set,
  • Client, Project and/or System description.

6      Roles, Responsibilities and skill set

My role is dependent on the client’s needs. Listed below are roles, responsibilities and skills which I’ve applied/gained during my career:

6.1    Project Engineer role:

  • Detail definition of the What with exclusions, assumptions, interfaces, and trace-ability to proposal, client requirement (tender), Acceptance Test Procedure’s, validation and deployment plans, including business, performance and system effectiveness definition and specifications.
  • Risk analysis and preventative initiatives with proactive test plans to manage the risks and allow sufficient time for alternative solutions.
  • Ensure proper test procedures, plans and data to get functionality accepted i.e. ensure that the procedures are in accordance with the PRS and that proactive tests could be done to qualify and understand risk areas. This requires very close and continuous involvement with the client, dev and deployment teams, supplier(s).
  • Major skills: Focus on detail, Proactive planning skills, Verbal and written communication skills, Negotiation skills to calibrate expectations whilst maintaining trust, Maintain helicopter view of project processes and the objective(s) of the application to manage progress (assistance and sound board to project manager), highlight risk areas which needs escalation, Confident, Detailed and Structured, Tactful, Mature – non Defensive, Solution focussed.
  • Responsible for the processes and clarity to ensure sign-off of the system according to the defined and agreed scope and quality.

6.2    System Architect role:

  • Guide, lead and drive the system design with the client, the supplier(s) and us.
  • Ensure that the overall system will comply with the agreed performance, effectiveness and user friendliness.
  • Risk analysis and preventative initiatives with proactive test plans to manage the risks and allow sufficient time for alternative solutions to ensure the compliance above.
  • Ensure proper test procedures, plans and data to test system performance and stress and to do proactive tests to id possible risk areas in time to provide alternative solutions and minimise rework. This requires very close and continuos involvement with the client, development and deployment teams, supplier(s).
  • Major skills: Technical highly and versatile qualified and experienced, Very good design and diagnostic skills, Good verbal and written communication skills, Very good understanding of the application to ensure that the system will conform, Confident, Detailed and Structured, Tactful, Mature – non Defensive, Solution focussed.
  • Overall responsibility to ensure that the system will handle the performance as agreed.

6.3    Validation/Deployment manager role:

  • Ensure appropriate test procedures, plans, environment, and data are available in time for providing alternatives in time and to minimise rework.
  • Ensure sign-off in conjunction with the project engineer and system architect.
  • Plan for appropriate internal integration testing and continuous performance statistics to escalate problem areas.
  • Identify possible risk areas and prioritise testing accordingly.
  • Major skills: Very good logistic and proactive planning skills, Good understanding of the application and high level objectives which have to be met, Good verbal and written communication skills, Confident, Detailed and Structured, Tactful, Mature – non Defensive, Solution focussed.
  • Responsible for getting the system accepted and deployed on all aspects.

6.4    Financial and Contractual manager role:

  • Understand contractual Terms &Conditions to align with project/business financials.
  • Total monitor, control and management of project budget, baseline, forecast, and schedule(s).
  • Manage project schedule and maintain and highlight impact on cash flow and contractual liabilities.
  • Major skills: Financial control and management, excellent verbal and written skills, Contractual Terms and Conditions, Combination of detail and structure.
  • Responsible for tight contractual and financial control and management.

6.5    Managing Director role/responsibilities:

  • Financial control and processes including cost management including retrenchment of people in order to align with business capacity/profitability.
  • HR: Career planning processes, performance review processes, salary review processes, employee relations and conflict resolution.
  • Operation execution and management across all business areas and projects.
  • Reporting: Board meetings, executive meetings.
  • Sales & Marketing processes, execution and guidance.

6.6    Chief Operating Officer role/responsibilities:

  • Finance & Admin:
  • Sales:
  • Technical Services:

7      Client, Project and/or System description:

7.1    Company X Vanderbijlpark – Energy Control System

The Energy Control System (ECC) system at Company X Vanderbijlpark, monitors and controls all the energy sources in use by Company X. Company X is a steel manufacturing company and their main products (supplied locally and in the international markets) are:

  • profiles for construction purposes,
  • sheet metal as in rolled steel for manufacturing such as corrugated iron for roofs and panels for motor cars,
  • steel rods as well as wire for fencing, etc.

Because of Company X’s huge demand and use of electricity, they have an agreement with the supplier (Escom), which limits the usage of electricity per month. They also have different rates for different times in the day in order to spread the usage of Company X across the periods when the demand from the other users, such as household, re less. The “incentives” for Company X is in a form of penalties for exceeding the demand and bonuses in the form of reduced rates when working within the agreed usage. These penalties are of serious nature and can results in hundreds of thousands of rands per month.

It is not that simple an exercise to manage this demand within a company such as Company X, because of the fact that they are working with melted steel which can not be kept “on hold” in order to limit the usage of electricity during a specific hour. Very accurate planning is required to melt and process the steel and final products within the agreed electricity usage. The forecast from each plant is therefore sent to the ECC, which also includes gas, water, steam, etc. The ECC will then monitor the usage based on this forecast and control the usage by firstly informing these plants of any “abuse” so that they can reduce the usage, after which these plants can be stopped by the ECC, should it require such drastic measures.

The ECC is also responsible for the safety aspects regarding the distribution of these sources e.g. the pressure in the gas pipes, overflow due to unforeseen problems when they have a plant breakdown and can therefore not use the sources as per the forecast, etc. The objective during such unforeseen breakdown and therefore, is to burn for example access gas and to use the heat to generate steam. This new form of energy is then used to drive a steam alternator, which can then produce electricity to an island of users within Company X.

7.2    Richards Bay  – Coal Terminal Management System

Monitor and control system for Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). RBCT’s main objective is to off-load coal from the trains, which transports the coal from the different mines within SA to Richards Bay, after which the coal is temporally stored in stacks (separate stacks for separate grades), then reclaimed from the stacks, transported to the harbour where it is loaded on ships for export to other countries.

The system provides an easy and more intelligent mechanism to pre-plan the off-load, and load, of the coal by creating plans for the transport routes of the coal based on the arrival schedule of the trains and the arrival schedule of the ships. The system will keep these plans (stacked one after the other), and can be initiated when the train and/or ship arrives.

There is also safety and performance factors which have an influence on the possible routes and duration of the transport such as cooling of the coal whilst laying in the sun to prevent ignition, once the coal is on a conveyer the conveyer can not stop – also to prevent heating in the sun, etc.

The return on investment for this system from RBCT’s point of view is to minimise the penalties which are payable should the duration to loan a ship exceed the agreed duration – these penalties are calculated per minute which you exceed and of serious nature.

7.3    Umgeni Water – Crises Management System

Monitor and control system for Umgeni Water Purification and Distribution. This system manages the distribution of water from rivers, dams, etc. to the purification areas, after which it gets distributed to the consumer.

The quality of water produced to the consumer is very important, i.e. ensure clean and healthy water. It is therefore crucial to know the source and route of the water to prevent it from getting to the consumer should they detect any problems with it.

The system also enables the user to manage crisis situations such as floods.

7.4    Company X – Product Packing and Storage System

Monitor and control system for Company X Product Packing and Storage. This system manage the receipt of the chocolate products at a pre-store area, the packing and sealing of the different products, and the distribution of these products to the designated areas in the store where it will be distributed to the rest of SA.

This system also allows for stock taking due to the fact that the complete production of the factory has to go through the packaging area before shipment.

7.5    Company X and COMPANY X – ERP Solution

ERP Business solution (Prism) for Company X and COMPANY X Product Manufacturing and Distribution. This system assist the client to manage their products from where they order the resources, all the way through production until it arrives at the planned destinations. It handles customer orders, delivery notes, invoicing, stock control, price structure and discount, client help and complaint desk, etc.

These solutions includes the following modules:

  • HR pay roll
  • Production
  • Maintenance
  • Procurement
  • Customer Order Management
  • Financials
  • Accounts Payable
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Enterprise Management
  • Integration of some and all of these modules.

7.6    Company X – Network Management System

Company X Telecommunication Network Management system. This system provides a standard monitor and control system for all telecommunication equipment and routes such as satellites, routes such as fibre, copper, radio, etc. Standard meaning it collects and sends info to and from different technologies from a standard and central management system. This then allows for other systems such as billing, to collect and send information to this standard interface in stead of having to interface to each of these different technologies in the field.

The system also provides the user with other management information such as planning of the network based on the current network and load on the network, allocation of support teams where they can be most cost effective based on the density and usage of the network in specific areas around the country.

The project consisted of 5 subcontractors which were managed by the prime contractor, i.e. us. These suppliers included HPS, Siemens, ATIO, etc.

7.7    Company X – Network Management System

Company X Telecommunication Network Management system. Same as above but for SA.

Company X Fraud Detection system. This system is created to detect when anyone wants to defraud Telkom by means of using the service with no intention to pay for it. It is based on the way in which the brain recognises similar patterns, e.g. if you show someone a picture of a bird and then only show the tips of the wings and head, it will still recognise it as a bird or a possibility that it might be a bird. In the same way the system is taught what a “complete” fraud looks like after which it will alarm the user when it detects something similar. It also teaches itself every time it receives more information which are fraud specific.

The main subcontractor here was based in England which made cross company management an essential skill/requirement.

7.8    Company X – Consultant to board

Company X Group has the following products and/or solutions which are either being distributed or developed for distribution:

  • Element Manager for equipment used in the Telkom industry.
  • Building management systems.
  • Equipment calibration services.
  • Asset management services.
  • Consultation for process control systems such as railway control and management.
  • Tracking systems for the industrial market as well as within the sports arena (cycling, running, and other marathons, i.e. to track the athletes within any given race.
  • Venture capital projects (local and international).
  • Manufacture of medical equipment and products for the US market.

The design objectives of Company X at the point when I was contracted as COO were to “provide an electronic tag that will hold at least an EAN13 code that can be readily attached to any item. It should be flexible and rugged. Its form factor should allow it to be compatible with the more common standardised labels. The data should be readily programmable by the customer. Once programmed the data should be non-alterable. When used in conjunction with a suitable reader, should provide an operating range of at least 1.5 meters under license free conditions”.

At the time of the development of the Generation I tag the competing technologies were Bar coding and earlier RFID systems. Both of these systems have several drawbacks. Earlier RFID products existed when development of the Company X system was started, but they had certain limitations and Company X believed that they could address those limitations and therefore capture the gap in the market.

My role was to assist with normal operational management and to ensure appropriate project and business plans, put in place to enable Company X to deliver against objectives and milestones, defined by the board/shareholders.

7.9    Company X – Automated and Integrated HR & Payroll System

Gold fields HR & Payroll system. The following objectives were addressed during the definition phase by the project team to ensure that the product and required processes comply:

  • “To address the poor audit, costing and security controls in the current outdated and expensive HR and payroll systems by implementing a solution with the capabilities to improve these controls”.
  • “To address the seven (7) different payrolls currently used by Company X Limited – 50,000 employees.  The current payrolls may be seen as discriminatory in their very nature due to the anomalies in conditions, practices and processes”.
  • “A solution is required to assist Company X Limited in its drive to become a competency based organisation which is committed to developing its people”.
  • “To introduce, in the most efficient and cost effective way, a common and integrated Human Resource and Payroll solution which will assist in centralising certain appropriate HR and Payroll processes and activities”.
  • “The implementation of an integrated HR/Payroll solution creates a window of opportunity to standardise and simplify processes and conditions of employment within Company X Limited.  This opportunity should especially be seen in the light of the status quo of differences and anomalies, which exists between operations and regions”.
  • “To assimilate best practices in the design of HR and Payroll processes and policies”.

7.10   Company X – ERP Maintenance & Stores System

Company X Plant Maintenance & Stores System – Houston USA. Company X is situated in Houston which is one of the hubs of the chemical industry of the USA. It consequently finds itself in an extremely competitive environment. To ensure that Company X remains competitive in the future, the management has instituted various initiatives to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness.

One of the initiatives embarked upon is an improved Plant Maintenance system and procedure. It has become apparent that significant cost savings are possible with an effective Plant Maintenance system that can track and monitor all maintenance costs and activities. Proper planned maintenance and stores management can further improve overall plant efficiency.

Due to the fact that upgraded version of Protean has been deployed throughout DX Service, the intention is to implement the Production Modelling module of Protean as well to optimize the production process. Linking the Plant Maintenance and Production Modelling features of Protean is expected to afford significantly improved operational efficiency and cost savings.

Organizational change drivers (Dx): The recent promotion of Phil Johnson to Vice President with overall management responsibility for Company X, emphasizes the determination of the company to improve operational efficiency and the competitive position of Company X.

The company has also appointed an experienced chemical plant manager to assist Phil Johnson in identifying critical areas that require improvement. Plant Maintenance has already been identified as a high priority item

The business benefits that will be realized from the DX Avantis Plant Maintenance & Stores System will be measured in terms of cost reduction of Plant Maintenance and Stores, improved efficiency in plant maintenance operations and maintenance shutdowns and efficient contractor and maintenance staff management.

Specific objectives that will be obtained as a result of improved business processes using Avantis as an information tool supporting the new processes:

  1. Reduce Maintenance Staff with 50%.
  2. Improve utilization of Maintenance Resources from 30% to 70%.
  3. Reduce Maintenance Cost with at least 25%.
  4. Additional benefits that will be identified as a result of the USC Consulting Group initiative to review the current business processes in order to improve according to best practices, will be incorporated within this project where feasible.

7.11   Company X – COO

Company X (Proprietary) Limited (KSS), a member of the Kunene Bros Holdings group and an empowerment organisation committed to the successful transformation of the South African economy and society, has been providing business benefits to organisations for more than a decade and the main focus areas are:

Network Solutions

With its alignment to global technology leaders such as Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, Nortel, IBM and Compaq, KSS is ideally positioned to address any connectivity and communications challenge spanning multiple computing platforms and enabling access to information from anywhere and at any time.

KSS has a proven track-record in providing infrastructure to support effective, resilient, disaster-proof local and wide area networking and the fast-emerging technologies associated with network attached storage and storage area networking.

IT Services

In order to support the complete solutions lifecycle KSS offer a full complement of both Professional and Managed services.

Professional Services: Following the solutions lifecycle from consulting through design and procurement and into integration services KSS is able to provide customers with tailor-made solutions addressing real business needs. All solutions implementation projects are supported with proven project management methodologies, minimizing risks and ensuring smooth on-time and in-budget implementations.

Managed (operational) Services

Completing the solutions lifecycle, KSS offers a range of outsourced services allowing its customers to enjoy all the benefits of outsourcing without any of the risks involved. With services such as:

  • Remote Systems Management (RSM);
  • Comprehensive Care (hardware and software support);
  • Outsourced IT management;
  • Remote or on-site Helpdesk services

and various others, customers can focus on their core business activities with the operational aspects of managing and maintaining their IT infrastructure in the hands of skills professionals. All the above services are offered in terms of comprehensive Service Level Agreements (SLA).

Partnered Services: In order to provider a comprehensive service offering, KSS closely partners with selected industry specialists. These partners are all leaders in fields such Business continuity planning (BCP), IT Recovery services, security penetration testing, information security analysis, training and facilities design and implementation.

Solutions focus

By combining products from world leading suppliers with our own skills and expertise we are able to offer customers turnkey solutions in the following areas:

  • Private data networks (LAN/WAN)
  • Networked Voice integration for IP Telephony (LAN) and Toll Bypass (WAN)
  • WAN optimisation solutions using Enterprise caching, compression and QoS technology
  • Networked Video integration for video conferencing, security and similar requirements
  • Wireless and Remote Access network solutions, both fixed and mobile
  • Security solutions including Firewalls, Intrusion Detection and Content Management.
  • Clustered and consolidated server platforms including SAN and NAS storage technology
  • Unified Messaging (email/fax/voice)
  • Workflow solutions &       Document Management

Vendor Accreditation

KSS has developed its technical strengths by aligning itself to and complying with the standards of the following world-class vendor programmes:

IBM Server Business Partner

  • xSeries & Storage certified
  • x440 Series certification in progress

Cisco Silver Certified Partner

  • Wireless specialization
  • VPN/Security specialization
  • #1 in 2001/2 PSAT customer satisfaction ratings in South Africa
  • #2 in 2002/3 PSAT customer satisfaction ratings in South Africa

Expand Value Added Reseller

  • Sole Expand appointed National support partner.

Mitel IP Telephony Partner

Hewlett Packard VAR

  • Enterprise & Storage Certification
  • #1 Diamond Partner in 2002

Microsoft Solutions Provider

Citrix Silver Partner

Novell Business Expert

Goldmine Business Partner.

8      References

The positions of the following references are as per the time of involvement i.e. not necessary current positions.

Reference Position
Person X Company, position and Contact details
Person X Company, position and Contact details
Person X Company, position and Contact details
Person X Company, position and Contact details
Person X Company, position and Contact details
Person X Company, position and Contact details
Person X Company, position and Contact details
Person X Company, position and Contact details
Person X Company, position and Contact details

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Understanding DISC Profiles

Update: If you are considering a midlife career change it is very important that you complete a DISC profile.


I Ask

Somebody said that understanding DISC Profiles can be extremely useful in dealing with customers and colleagues. I’m not so sure what it is exactly, let alone how to use it. Can you explain it to me?


I Answer

Your DISC Profile gives you an indication of the behavioral style that you prefer based on the DISC Dimensions of Behavior Model.

This model provides for four Behavioral Dimensions, each of which encompasses a set of key characteristics and personal behavioral preferences.

The acronym DISC indicates the main characteristic of each of the four styles or dimensions:

D – Dominance

I – Influencing

S – Steadiness

C – Compliance

The table below describes typical behavioral characteristics of persons with High “D”, “I”, “S” and “C” preferences:

Understanding DISC profiles for career development

High D – Dominance

  • Active, positive movement in an unfavorable environment.
  • Observable characteristics: strong, forceful, competitive.
  • Basic orientation: task-oriented (results), moves people to action, desire to cause change.
  • Positive motivators: directness, does not like to be entertained or restrained.
  • Negative motivators: does not like being taken advantage of , especially criticism of their character (self-concept/ego).
  • Basic growth factors: impatience is a behavioral limitation, they are selective listeners, tend to have a blind spot regarding other’s views and feelings.
  • Sees environment as antagonistic/hostile.

High I – Influence

  • Active, positive movement in a favorable environment.
  • Observable characteristics: optimistic, easily relate to people.
  • Basic orientation:  social, high-keyed emotionally, loves to entertain.
  • Positive motivators:  needs social recognition, needs companionship, needs group morale.
  • Negative motivators:  social rejection – experience disapproval in relationships or criticism as personal rejection by others.
  • Basic growth factors: disorganization in task behavior is a competency limitation.
  • Sees environment as supportive / favorable.

High S – Steadiness

  • Passive, agreeable movement in a favorable environment.
  • Observable characteristics: pragmatic, objective, team payer, family person.
  • Basic orientation: concrete results-oriented, bottom-line approach, prefers concrete to abstract.
  • Positive motivators: proven practices, clear objectives, follows procedure.
  • Negative motivators: loss of stability, suspicious of the unknown, does not like change.
  • Basic growth factors: possessiveness and adherence to the code of order.
  • Tranquility is a key limitation.
  • Sees Environment as antagonistic / hostile

High C – Conscientiousness

  • Cautious, tentative movement in an unfavorable environment.
  • Observable characteristics: accurate-the most precise of all patterns, the quality control person.
  • Basic orientation task orientated (Detail): highly intuitive, people readers, cautious in relationships.
  • Positive motivators: the correct or proper way, most self-discipline.
  • Negative motivators: criticism of their work or their effort in a situation.
  • Basic growth factors: overly critical and demanding of both themselves and others because of their high standards (though this criticism is often unspoken).

I Ask

But what practical value does these concepts have?


I Answer

DISC Dimensions of Behavior helps you discover and capitalize on your unique behavioral strengths. DISC can also help you realize how overusing your strengths can create misunderstandings, tension and conflict.

Knowing how to be responsive to the communication needs of others is the key to success in relationships.

Understanding the Dimensions of Behavior helps you to better understand the behavior of others whose strongest behavioral preferences lie in the dimensions (styles) which differ from your own.


I Ask

Is there any way to determine the behavioral preference of a person, say for instance, a customer…?

The DISC People Reading Guide is a most valuable tool in this regard, especially if you use it in combination with the DISC Behavioral Styles Summary:

Outgoing / Direct

  • Faster Pace
  • More telling
  • Louder speech
  • More inflection

More competitive and directing (“D” need)

  • Closed posture
  • Unexpressive / Cool face
  • Feeling unexpressed
  • Formal
  • Focuses on “What?”
  • Priority on goal and Results

Reserved / Indirect

  • Slower pace
  • More asking
  • Softer speech
  • More monotone

More accepting and doing
(“S” need)

  • Closed posture
  • Relaxed / warm face
  • Feelings expressed
  • Casual
  • Focuses on “How?”
  • Priority on cooperation and stability

More talkative and interactive (“I” need)

  • Open Posture
  • Animated / warm face
  • Feelings expressed
  • Casual
  • Focuses on “Who?”
  • Priority on people and approval

More assessing and thinking
(“C” need)

  • Closed posture
  • Unexpressive / cool face
  • Feelings unexpressed
  • Formal
  • Focuses on “Why?”
  • Priority on quality and analysis
DISC Behavioral Styles Summary
Major Goals: Results
People involvement
Security / Stability Accuracy
Major Fears: Losing control of environment
Being taken advantage of
Loss of approval
Sudden change
Loss of security
Criticism of performance
Lack of standards
Dislikes: Being controlled by others
Lack of results
Handling complex details
Working alone
Hostility, conflict
Unclear explanations
Under Pressure: Domineering
As a buyer responds to: Options
Saving personal effort
Assurance of stability
Personal attention
Evidence of quality and accuracy
Logical approaches
Decision style: Quick Emotional / “Gut feel” Deliberate Analytical

I Explain

It might be a smart move to fill in your own DISC Profile, as well as those of your team members on this page. It would be very helpful in guiding you in your interaction with them.

Just bear in mind that behavioral preferences are not cast in stone and can change over time…


DISC Profile Example

DISC Profile Example

If you are not sure of what your DISC Profile is ask your team leader for assistance.

My profile is that of a counselor.

Counselors are particularly effective in solving people’s problems. They impress others with their warmth empathy and understanding.

They find it easy to look for the good in others and have an optimistic outlook. Counselors prefer to deal with others on the basis of building long- standing relationships.