I am a massive fan of shows like Billions and Suits. I sit at home on my sofa and picture myself rocking up to large corporate meetings, throwing down the gauntlet, giving my ‘if looks could kill’ stare and walking back out triumphantly as everything falls apart behind me.

In reality however, I’ve never actually worked in the corporate world and when I sit back and think about it, I’m not sure that I ever really want to.

You see, my career has been spent, almost in its entirety, working directly with entrepreneurs, in a family business, or within small tight knit management teams. To me, this is my niche.

Last year, Tim Taylor asked me to complete his DUET tool in order for me to get a better awareness of my preferences in business and to understand how my style can impact (both positively and negatively) on teamwork and communication so, when needed, I could make adjustments, to harness diversity.

I’ve decided to share above the results of my DUET test from which you can see, I am very much a People and Task oriented leader. So how does this fit with my earlier statement that my niche is working with small management teams, family businesses and entrepreneurs? Well here’s my take on it.

I believe that first and foremost, in business, as in life, people buy people. When you look at my DUET results and how dominating the yellow wedge is that signifies people, I suspect you won’t be that surprised by this statement.

When you work directly with entrepreneurs, within family businesses that have been built through hard work over generations or with small close-knit teams; this characteristic/preference/management style, whatever you want to call it, gets a chance to come to the fore in a way that mightn’t always be possible in larger corporate organisations.

Whilst I haven’t worked within a large corporation, I’ve sat many times on the other side of the table negotiating with them and more times than not, we have fared well. I believe that has been as a result of our ability to bring things back to the personal aspect and making them understand that it’s not all about spreadsheets and margins. However, I’ve also seen representatives of big corporate partners who thought that because we were a small team or because we didn’t come from their privileged world, we would be naive and would lack their business acumen. This is where the big blue wedge (representing Tasks) of my DUET results comes in to play.

You see, just because I have a great focus on people and that I put a lot of emphasis on building strong relationships and connecting with people, that doesn’t mean that I don’t know how things work or that I will neglect any of the other elements, especially the detail. I learnt very early on in my career the importance of keeping records and ensuring that everything that has been agreed is written down. As a result, I am very rarely caught out by those less scrupulous than me!

An old boss of mine, no matter what time of the evening (or early morning) he got back to his room at, he would take ten to fifteen minutes to make his notes. I do the same and then, I go a little bit further by following up with an email to summarise everything discussed for the others involved.

I learnt from working in the HPSU world that long emails are frowned upon – I first came across the acronym TLDR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) last year. As a result, I have adjusted my approach a little bit by either starting an email with the conclusion and action points and then having the detail down below in more bullet points or I attach the detail in a word or pdf doc and the body of the email is kept just for conclusions and action points. I think the compromise is as far as I can go but and I make no apologies as I know from personal experience the importance of keeping details for the life of, and beyond, any project.

I know from my time working with Tim and facilitating leadership teams in workshops etc, that the best teams have all four characteristics, People, Process, Creative, Task, represented in the team. Surprisingly, I’ve found this is sometimes easier to do in small teams.

It may well be that my niche is working with SMEs rather than in a big corporate but that doesn’t mean that I need to drop my aspirations to be a Harvey Spector or Bobby Axelrod just yet: On second thoughts, I’m more of a David than a Goliath!

Fortior Insight Ltd works with SMEs to help them bring onboard the expertise they need when they need it by fulfilling the need not filling a role. We also help connect SMEs with suppliers and customers globally through our international network. To learn more about our services, click the link or feel free to give Jonathan a call on 07388036121.

If you’d like to find out what your DUET looks like, you can do so for FREE though this link.

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