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NACCU Blog: The benefits of different personality types in a card office

In a recent entry to NACCU’s Positive IDentity Blog, Sara Featherlin, Assistant Director of the ID Center at the University of Illinois System, discusses the importance of having a variety of personalities in the card office. Specifically, she highlights the value of having both specialists, and “multipotentialites.”

As Featherlin writes, a multipotentialite is one who, “when provided with appropriate environments, can select and develop a number of competencies to a high level.” This is the opposite of a specialist who is like the person who knew from a young age.

“Were you one of those types who knew your entire life what you wanted to do, had a completed plan with all of the goals you would need to accomplish in order to succeed, and then made those dreams and goals come true,” posits Featherlin. “Not me. And for a long time, it bothered me.”

As she applies this ides to the card office environment, Featherlin suggests having a combination of multipotentialites and specialists can offer several benefits. “The biggest benefit in my opinion is the well-rounded wealth of knowledge,” she says. “Well-rounded knowledge provides more well-rounded thinking and answers. Well-rounded answers lead to well-rounded solutions for your office.”

Featherlin uses the example of office work flow software issues. “It just doesn’t do what you need for your office,” she writes. “Your IT specialist may suggest a strategy to purchase different software, which would solve the IT problem.”

“A multipotentialite, on the other hand, could see that same problem through a flow-of-business perspective and suggest that you could keep the software if the work was divided into a different manner which would be more productive.”

As with any healthy working environment, the card office thrives when it best utilizes the knowledge of all personality types that contribute to its work flow strategy. “Maybe even with new software as well, using the strengths of both of those thinkers. It could revolutionize your card office!”

Featherlin suggests striking a balance between the specialist and the multipotentialite. The latter, she writes, can sometimes be perceived as flighty or distracted. But in reality their type of thinking offsets and even compliments the more laser focused thinking of specialists.

“Variety of thinking can lead to any business, especially card offices, to flourish. Plus, who doesn’t love a co-worker who helps you see things differently, whether it is in a more focused or a more broad fashion,” says Featherlin. “It is definitely better to have people who think outside a traditional box so your office can stay fresh!”

See Sara Featherlin’s full write up on the NACCU Positive IDentity Blog.

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