September 2016 - In This Issue:
Elizabeth Cassin, CEO of Elica Health Centers, understands that hiring a polymath brings a wide range of skills, they tend to be open to learning, exercise innovative thinking, want to collaborate and are not afraid to think outside the box.

Q&A:  Culture
Q:  I recently interviewed for a job, and I am excited at the possibility of being hired. The interview went well, and they are doing a background check now. After reviewing my personality profile you provided, and thinking about what jobs I am best suited for, everything seems to fit. However, I forgot to ask this important question, "What is your company's culture?" I know they are going to call me back soon, so how do I go about asking this question?

- Monica, Education
A:  A company's culture is typically expressed in their mission statement and core values. You can also get a feel for the culture from their communication style, in the architectural style or interior decor of offices, what people wear to work, or by how people interact with one another.

You want to ask about the company's culture in a positive, caring way so that you can glean a truthful answer. You understand your strengths and the things you want to be aware of through your personality profile, namely: does their culture fit with your style? 

Consider asking a few questions from the list below: 
  1. How would you describe the culture at this organization? You want the interviewer to be able to describe the culture in three or four words and see if the answer is measurable.  If the answer is something like, "We are a caring organization," you may wonder: what does caring mean to them?  How do they measure caring? 
  2. What do you love most about the culture here? 
  3. What personality traits do you look for in your ideal team member?
  4. Do the company's different departments ever collaborate with one another?
  5. What is the process for new employees during their first 30 days, such as training? Are new employees mentored to help avoid careless mistakes? What happens if an innocent mistake is made?
  6. What would your staff say are the top three or four reasons they like working here?
  7. How does this position and the overall team of employees support the company's mission, goals and success of the company?
  8. How are employees developed to enhance their skills, such as training and education?
  9. How would you describe management styles and communication processes within the organization so the employees understand the company's needs?
  10. Do the employees have an opportunity to express their thoughts to enhance processes and/or ways to enrich different situations?

Watching for body language while asking your culture questions is so important. As I always tell my clients: body language never lies.


Need a helpful resource? Let Jeanne Reaves Consulting assist you with personality testing and leadership coaching.

Making A Career Change 

I recently read an article about individuals changing careers, and thought about my own experience. Before changing from one industry to another, I wasn't sure if my skills would be applicable to anything other than what I was doing until after speaking to an MBA class. Following my talk, the instructor asked me if I had ever thought about coaching and strategic planning because he felt I would do well in the industry.

As I thought about a career change, and whether or not it was right for me, here are a few things I considered:
  1. What did I like about my current position? Could my skills be of value in a different industry?
  2. What did I not like about my current position? Could those reasons become a limiting factor if I changed careers?
  3. What does my profile indicate are positions I should consider that would utilize my strengths, and what jobs would create frustration? If you are unfamiliar with a personality profile assessment, we offer this service at Jeanne Reaves Consulting. Click here for more information about how we can help.
  4. Be prepared to do what you enjoy, and not just because you can make a lot of money in the industry.
  5. Be prepared to accept a "lesser" position title. Personally, titles have never been an important factor for me, but enjoying my job is key. 
I remember a time in my career when a competitor within the industry I was working asked if I would consider working for them. During the interview process, and after being hired, I never once asked about the job title.  To me, it just wasn't a factor in taking the position. When a friend asked me what my title was I said, "I have no idea, but I'm excited to be doing something I really want to do." Bottom line: a title does not create happiness in a job!
In another situation, I had a corporate title and was asked to go into a special 9-month training program. I knew the program would add great value to my future and so I agreed, although I also knew it meant losing my corporate title. In the long run; however, the value was immeasurable. Friends and family were surprised that I would give up my corporate title, but it truly benefited me personally and professionally in the years to come.
As stated in an article from Mashable that I recently read,

"Career pivots often require professionals to leave more senior, higher-paying roles in favor of jobs that, initially, come with lower compensation packages or less desirable titles and responsibilities. In order to gain the skills and experience necessary to forge a new career, one must be willing to make strategic changes that may not be glamorous from the get-go."

Remember, long-range career planning sometimes takes a short-term strategic focus outside your current position. Don't be too concerned about what people will think, instead focus on  your values: what will make you happy, and how can you add value to the industry you want to enter.
If you can gain experience in the industry you are in to enhance your skills for another industry, take the time to gain the experience within your current position. Should you consider returning to school, or taking a couple of courses to advance your knowledge, do your homework on which educational options will help you further your goal of pursing a new career. Additionally, are there things you can do at the office to help others while gaining experience for the future? Are there places you can volunteer at or opportunities you can pursue that you are passionate about?
I know, this isn't always easy. I was a single mom with two children and knew that if I wanted to progress in my career I needed to return to college and take specific classes. Have you ever taken an accounting class at 7:30 a.m.? I barely had my eyes open, but I also knew this was important for my future, so it was a small sacrifice to pay.
At one point in my career, I had a desire to do a task outside my position. This meant assisting a teammate who had the responsibility of this task, and when I showed interest they were happy to receive the help. I was able to learn a new job, and they were able to get their work done on time. A win-win for all!

When thinking about a career change, and after you have followed the steps I outlined above, start learning about the field you wish to enter.  Don't be too concerned that you may not be hired because of the lack of experience in the chosen industry. Many times, management may not want someone in the same industry for the position you may want to seek. Instead, management may be looking for fresh ideas and a new way of doing things. I have hired people in key positions without the same industry experience because they brought a new skill set, and could add great value, while enhancing the position.


When you interview, there are the standard questions we are asked and that we ask of the hiring employer. Perhaps not as common, but very important, is to ask about the culture of the organization. If the employer can't answer this question in no more than two short sentences, you may want to question what the culture really is. If you know someone in the company ask them and see if the answers are compatible to one another. You may have the skill set, and they may have the position, but if you cannot fit into their culture it becomes a mistake; for you and the hiring company. 


Communication is extremely important.  Communication is 80% of the contribution anyone gives to their job, and 20% is skill (providing they have the skills necessary to do the job) required for the position.

Think about this: if you cannot get along with people, and people cannot get along with you, neither you nor the others are performing at maximum production.  Stress and concerns take over while production suffers.  Production and accuracy works when you enjoy what you are doing, and enjoy the people around you.
Something to always remember: we are not who we think we are, we are the perception of others.
Still have questions? Please email me, I would love to help! 

Notable Nonprofits
Supporting Sacramento's Nonprofits is important to us.

Founded in 1944, the Children's Receiving Home is a non-profit organization positively impacting the lives of children, youth and families affected by abuse, neglect, behavioral health issues, and trauma. These children have had lengthy, sometimes lifelong, negative experiences with adults and others. They are often angry, hurt, have low self-esteem, have difficulty trusting even those who can help them, and have certainly not had the opportunity for anything like a 'normal' childhood.
The Receiving Home's comprehensive services include: emergency shelter, access to medical care on-site, mental health evaluations and treatment, transportation to school and appointments, social work intervention and case management, and family support services. 
In the past seven years, CRH has implemented several new programs to better serve children and youth with diverse needs. In addition to 24-hour emergency shelter care, CRH now provides: a trauma informed care preschool program for the very youngest survivors of abuse, a day treatment program for youth dealing with depression and behavioral health disorders, and a community based suicide prevention program.
We would invite you to learn more about the Children's Receiving Home and their impact in the Sacramento community by visiting:

To learn more about Jeanne Reaves Consulting's community involvement and how we support nonprofit organizations, visit our website.

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