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My life as a PI Operator

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My name is Marissa and I’m an Operator. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m the person on the phone telling you which buttons to press to reach a specific person or that I’m someone whose daily role is operating a machine. More on me as an Operator in a bit but let me first set the stage by telling you a little bit about myself. 

I started at The Predictive Index (PI) in June of 2016 as an intern, and then grew into a full-time marketing coordinator position six months later. What does a marketing coordinator do at PI? A whole lot of everything, which I love. I’ve been able to get my hands on event planning, marketing operations, lead generation, product and client marketing, and, my current focus, demand generation.

Our demand generation team at PI has grown, which has lead me to shift gears in my role. I’m responsible for developing content for landing pages and email campaigns, along with ensuring the right people reach those campaigns. I love the creativity behind content creation but what I love the most is making sure everything is laid out correctly and working the way it should, in the most efficient way possible. Which explains why I’ve been known as the go-to person on our marketing team for all things process. This makes complete sense when you look at my behavioral pattern.

My behavioral pattern

My sister actually gave me my first PI Behavioral Assessment when she was working at PI.

The PI Behavioral Assessment essentially reveals where you fall on the spectrum of Four Factors:

  1. Dominance: Dominance is the drive to exert one’s influence on people or events.
  2. Extraversion: Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people.
  3. Patience: Patience is the drive for consistency and stability.
  4. Formality: Formality is the drive to conform to rules and structure.

Here’s my pattern:

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To the uninitiated, that behavioral pattern may not mean a whole lot, which is where Reference Profiles come in. All behavioral patterns map most closely to one of our 17 Reference Profiles, which gives us a way to paint the picture of someone’s behavioral drives in broad strokes. You can think of these as easy-to-reference groupings of the characteristics of people who have similar drives.

My Reference Profile is an Operator

An Operator is a patient, conscientious, relaxed, and cooperative team member.

Their communication is more informal and relaxed, and they are more comfortable with the familiar. Operators are great delegators of authority and detail is their thing.

When I saw that I was an Operator my first reaction was to sing “Smooth Operator” by Sade (great song). Then it was time to do some reading up on what it truly means to be an Operator and what understanding my Reference Profile can do for my working relationships. I couldn’t argue that it hit the nail right on the head. It made me want to run around the office, handing my PI Placard to everyone, saying “read this and remember it! This is who I am!”

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Operator coming through

My time at PI has had me developing processes where there was previously a gap. If I notice our team’s projects or tasks are tornado-like, I jump in to see what I can do to make it more blue skies and sunny days because I want everyone on the team to be happy, I like helping others, a process life is a happy life. My day-to-day really focuses on how to get things done right with a solid structure and plan.

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When my role began to shift towards demand generation, I started getting more involved with our webinars. Before we’d miss deadlines for promotional emails or we’d scramble to get resources done last minute. But when Marissa-process-Mias swooped in, we managed to get our act together. I put together an outline of what we needed for each webinar and when we needed it by, along with a monthly calendar of when promotional emails should go out. I sit in during each webinar to make sure presenting and streaming goes smoothly, essentially to ensure all my carefully-laid-out processes are running smoothly. Lately, webinars have been one of our stress-free projects and I’d like to thank structure for that. Thanks, structure.

The dark side of being an Operator 

Although implementing process throughout my day-to-day tasks helps me more often than not, it can sometimes hurt me in the workplace. Our company is very fast-paced and for someone who doesn’t jump for joy when change approaches, I can struggle with adjusting to it. Us Operators also have a low Dominance factor, which can be a struggle in some situations. I’m not someone who jumps in front of the room asking for all eyes on me, so when I have to do that, it can be very nerve-wracking. Want to see me try to get a word in during a meeting with all high Dominant people? Now that’s a tough thing to watch. Ever see a person turn the color of a tomato?


“My Reference Profile just made sense, it clicked and it helped me.”

One specific example comes to mind. We had a company bonding activity that involved a scavenger hunt, and I was on a team with people who all had opposite Reference Profiles compared to mine. What did that mean? It meant everyone else was in the “move! move! move!” mindset while I was in the “OK…let’s think of a plan” mindset. And in those situations even if I know I have a good idea, I tend to not speak up. Why? because I don’t feel as inclined as others to be the leader of the pack; I am more comfortable being a team player. I’ve also noticed, thanks to a better understanding of my Reference Profile, that I may struggle in ambiguous situations and shy away from tough conversations. No thanks, conflict.

How to work with (and manage) Operators

Operators like stability and familiarity. We look for opportunities to develop deep expertise in our areas of responsibility and apply specialized knowledge, skill, and experience daily.

When working with an Operator remember:

  • We need reassurance and a sense of security.
  • Please don’t pressure us. We’d prefer freedom from urgent time pressures.
  • Give us time to formulate our thoughts so we can take a methodical approach.

Ready to manage an Operator? Before you do…

  • Give us opportunities to work with the facts.
  • Try to give us freedom from changing priorities.
  • We need a handle and understanding of the rules and structure.

I recently was involved in the hiring process of my manager and this was both a nerve-wracking and exciting thing to be a part of. Nerve-wracking because I didn’t want to hire a manager that turned out to be a monster. Exciting because I actually had a say in who my next manager would be. As an Operator, I was looking for a manager who was the perfect combination of hands-on without micromanaging (i.e., I wanted a manager who would care about what I’m doing and guide me when I needed help but who wouldn’t check on me every other minute with an annoying “how’s it going.”) I like to have help and support but I also need freedom with my work.

Once I found out I was an Operator I had to do a lot of self-reflection and self-awareness. For me, my Reference Profile just made sense, it clicked and it helped me. I was able to understand why I react in certain ways towards team members, managers, projects, and it allowed me to put myself in environments I felt I could produce my best and showcase my abilities.

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“The understanding of myself and other team members’ Reference profiles has helped build a stronger foundation of trust amongst the group.”

Understanding my Reference Profile also showed my managers to focus on my strongest skills and abilities and strengthen those, rather than forcing me to stretch thin. Knowing my profile also prepares me for situations I know I’m going to feel uncomfortable in and helps me adjust to them rather than run from them. The understanding of myself and other team members’ Reference profiles has helped build a stronger foundation of trust amongst the group, now being able to fully understand the needs and behaviors of each person.

Want to learn more about how an Operator works, leads, and collaborates on a team? Check out our free course on Everything you need to know about an Operator.

Marissa is a sales and marketing operations specialist at PI. She loves chicken parm!

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