Most people have a “nodding” acquaintance with personality traits and profiling. That means when they are asked about profiles they “nod” and affirm they have taken profiles in the past, found them interesting or not and that pretty much is the extent of the subject.

It is rare to run into people who have become aware of their own traits to the extent they gave them much thought in making major decisions as in key relationships or in key job decisions. When they run into stressors and obstacles, most people look externally, to what is happening around them, rather than internally to how they are responding to the environment and why.

Sales is an area where this disconnect between the personal traits and the expectations and realities of the job are rarely considered. Any performance study you follow will indicate that there are essential traits that the best sales people possess; inherent traits that cannot be learned. A sample of these would be goal and results orientation, which is generated by the trait of dominance. Extroversion shows up in the best sales performers as well, meaning an authentic ability and preference for working with people, reading and understanding people and being able to persuade and influence. Urgency and the ability to prioritize are also essential. Yet, more than 80% of sales people do not have these traits.

As you might surmise, they do not perform as well as those who do, regardless of the industry, product or economic conditions, yet they still seek and find jobs in sales. The results are not only disappointing for employers, but the results are also disappointing for the sales people who feel the stressors of doing things everyday that are not comfortable to them.

Profiling that measures stress shows over and over the reality of what happens to people who are mismatched from the traits that are their strengths doing jobs that actually require traits they do not have.

We see this in all areas including accounting departments where high extroverts with low conformity, regardless of stellar accounting credentials, suffer significant energy loss, and resulting health related issues. Not only that, their co-workers who have different traits, more suitable for the environment, also show stress being so closely aligned to the more extroverted member of their team, since day to day accounting requires quiet, freedom from disruptions and freedom from too much conversation.

Because employees do not focus on their own personal traits, generated by their inherent and highly influential motivations, preferences and needs, they often blame the environment and those around them and want changes made to alleviate their discomfort. Management that tries to accommodate the symptoms of mismatches between people and positions have a difficult time maintaining results and focus on sound business practices.

Knowing is not the same thing as doing.  Managers who do not understand the importance of traits on performance, who focus on resume rather than required behaviors, create these situations unknowingly at the time of hire. Most terminations and disciplinary actions revolve around behavior rather than credentials or tasks. If there is a department with less than expected results, a quick stress analysis of the employees will indicate where the mismatches are along with the specific causes.

There are many people who have spent dozens of years dreading their workplaces, and who create negative impressions of their company to customers and who cause frustration among their co-workers, not because they cannot be valuable contributors, but because they cannot contribute what they would like in that specific position.

The science is in. Companies can easily assess the compatibility of any position with any individual and re-distribute their human “resources” to realign talents , skills and commitment for best performance, morale and company success.

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