Hi. I’m Josh Sinkow—a new intern working at The Gabriel Institute. At Clemson University I play club rugby in which we have a ‘top-down’ organization on our team–from our coach to a captain, president, vice-president, secretary, field manager, and social chair. As a team we all work towards winning every rugby game we can and, hopefully, going to the playoffs.

In a business team you also want to organize yourself with a series of ‘leaders’ like the CEO, president, managers, secretaries, and so on. Together the leaders of the team set the strategy and improve the team’s readiness, skill, and morale for success on and off the field. Each individual needs to be able to do their role and not interfere with each other’s jobs otherwise conflicts occur. The role each individual plays on the team is essential to the success of the whole unit.

In rugby the forward’s job is to hit, crash, and fight through while the backs’ job is to run and perform trick plays. If a back were to jump into the ruck with the forwards then the team is short a back, making it easy for the other team to get the ball, pass it off, and run around or through us. In business, if an assistant starts making decisions for the president, there will be conflicts, errors, and a possibility of “dropping the ball”. Every individual has a job to do and needs to fulfill the role otherwise the whole company suffers. Even the lowest level employees are needed otherwise the work just would not get done. Each individual member of a business team needs to know what their job is, be able to accomplish that job, and fulfill their responsibilities in the job that they are in so the team can reach its goal.

Perhaps most important in both sports and business: having a positive and constructive attitude when working with others is the secret to having a great team.  And that brings us back to The Gabriel Institute’s product, which is called TGI Role-Based Assessment. RBA was created specifically to identify and measure how people ‘team’ together. TGI’s research shows that each person has a different kind of drive, or personal ‘mission,’ to meet the needs of their team. This is called their ‘Role’ in RBA. And having positive orientation to working with other people to benefit the group is an RBA measurement called Coherence. Putting Role and Coherence together can tell you a lot about a person’s ‘Teaming Characteristics’, which can accurately identify the ‘best-fit’ for each person in a work environment.

I have a lot more to learn about Role-Based Assessment, but there’s one thing I’m sure of: there’s a new way to know how people will perform in teams, and that’s something really worth knowing!

“To the east side?” you ask.  No, through the corporate ranks.  The Gabriel Institute’s very own Paul Sevcik was recently asked to write about his transition from intern to Client Services Manager for the Eye of the Intern blog, and here’s what he had to say:

Making the move from intern to full-time employee

I was in the last semester of my MBA program and all indicators were bad.  The job market was down and paid positions were scarce as recently laid-off seasoned professionals joined the merry-go-round looking for work. At a networking event, I learned about an unadvertised internship at a company located in the same building where I took to my graduate courses. I chatted up the CEO of the company and was invited to apply for the internship.

This particular company had a unique way for potential interns to start the application process.  Submit a resume?  “No, thank you,” they said.  Call some references?  “Nope, we don’t do that,” they said, “just go to our website.”  Oh boy.  I had heard that story a thousand times!

Although skeptical, I went to their website and applied by taking their Role-Based Assessment, which actually turned out to be fun. When I clicked submit, I received the typical: “We’ll be in touch.”  I followed up by sending an email to the CEO of the company.  The next day, I received an invitation to interview with them.

The interview was like any other with typical questions about my skills and experience, but a new dimension was added when they actually gave me my assessment results. This was a surprise because I had received my results at an interview before. I read over the report and thought, “Wow, this company really gets me!  Before they even brought me in today, they knew how I could contribute to their team.  Wait a minute–they brought me in because they already know I will be a positive contributor to their company!”  The interview discussion was very productive and within a week, I was working at The Gabriel Institute doing work that I really enjoyed.

I worked at The Gabriel Institute for three months and sampled work in Sales, Human Resources, and Operations.  I had expressed interest in these areas during my interview and my supervisor made sure to balance the type of work I did. In the process, I worked with every person in the organization, which was a small startup company with a heavy entrepreneurial focus.

As my third month came to a close, I received and accepted an offer for full-time work at another company. The experience at the new company, however, was so negatively different from the supportive and productive environment at The Gabriel Institute that I terminated employment at the new company on my 90th day.

So there I was without a job or internship and no sign of the economy improving anytime soon.  What was I going to do?

I asked the CEO of The Gabriel Institute, the company where I had done my internship, out to breakfast and the next morning we sat down to talk about my future with the company. My internship was reignited with a bend toward temp-to-hire work. Three months later, I transitioned from a temp to a full-time employee and now, I’m the Client Services Manager.  Part of my job is to oversee the internship program. Today, the program is formalized and the positions are advertised at local universities, several online internship sites, and on the company’s website. The process for becoming an intern still starts at the website and we only bring in interns if we know their assessment results fit with our needs. The assessment works like a charm and I am proof it’s possible to go from intern to full-time employee at a small company that’s willing to take the risk during turbulent times.

The original blog posting can be found here.

Like all other conversations at The Gabriel Institute, the topic of my impending departure for life on the high seas came full circle back to RBA.  While the average person might have thought of Blackbeard or that episode of Family Guy in which Stewie imagines his musical life on deck, Dr. J’s mind went straight to 15th century Italy.  Leave it to a Founder to take things in a different direction.

According to the good doctor, Renaissance Italy offered few vocational choices.  You either went to work on a ship, raised livestock, or spent your days stomping grapes.  So if you’re Christopher Columbus, and you aren’t feeling the sheep or the stained socks, you hop on board the first ship that’s hiring.  The sailors who were actually good would likely have been Explorers, had they taken RBA.  Considering the 7,790 miles (thanks Google) that separate America and India, it seems likely that Chris’ Role wasn’t such a good fit for his occupation.  Then again, with only three career options and ten Roles, there were bound to be a few people who weren’t exactly at home in their jobs.

Taking our imaginary DeLorean back to the year 2009, we find that there are millions of careers to choose from.  This difficult decision can be made easier by determining your Role, and thereby ensuring that you don’t end up in America, when you should’ve been in Italy all along making wine with your feet (figuratively speaking, of course).

I better set a good example here.  I take no credit for the word ‘suckritocracy’ but seriously, doesn’t it describe at least one place you’ve worked?

I heard it attributed to Edith Waltz, a sociologist who morphed into an IT director for Fortune 500 companies.  In her experience those companies were not meritocracies, they were not even aristocracies, and they certainly weren’t democracies – they were, pure and simple, suckritocracies.  And, apparently, in her experience, few people cared.

Call me Pollyanna, but I really meant it when I wrote The Gabriel Institute’s vision line – Making the Workplace a Better Place to Work.

So in that spirit, I ask you to join me in a revolution to banish suckritocracy from the workplace.  Here are the three ‘rules of engagement’:

  • First, believe that you can end suckritocracy in your lifetime.  All you have to do is to stop contributing to it.  Don’t take credit for other people’s work and, if you can, share the credit other people give you – whether you think you deserve it or not.  Being known as a team player is worth more to your career than being known for being smart.
  • Second, figure out what you really like to do and try to work with other people who will do the parts you don’t like.  If you get yelled at for that, you are working in a suckritocracy that has hardened into something like the corporate equivalent of the Zombies from Outer Space.  It eats fear and it can only survive by creating that fear in its young.  All you can do is starve it.
  • Finally, rock your own world.  Find the rest of your team.  They are out there.  (This is something like finding true love.)  Respect them,  Trust them.  Build something together (think Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Ben & Jerry) and just say no to suckritocacy.