On the eve of Sally Bibb’s launch event for The Strengths Book this evening, the author shares some of her top tips for women in business, with insights into launching your own business and the challenges people may face.
- Tell us what you do
I run a business that discovers what makes people great at what they do and teaches organisations how to know whether someone will be a great fit for a role. We’ve studied great nurses, baristas, carers, prison officers and sales people. It’s absolutely fascinating, and the dream job for someone who is endlessly interested in people and what makes them tick.
- What motivated and inspired you to start your career in this industry?
When I was in my twenties I was in a job that I loved and was great at. I did so well that I was promoted. The problem was that I failed miserably in the new job! I was a square peg in a round hole. Since then it bugged me how companies can get selection so wrong. I wanted to fix this problem. That’s why I started Engaging Minds.
- What were the first few steps you took?
I studied humanistic psychology, I devised a methodology, I left my job at The Economist magazine and started searching for the first client.
- What was your big breakthrough?
Getting Starbucks as a client. Once we worked with them and achieved impressive quantitative and qualitative results, other big name companies wanted to work with us.
- What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Having enough time to do everything I want to do with the business is an ongoing challenge, and I imagine always will be.
- How do you overcome challenges?
I have a lot of determination and drive, and I also have some excellent people around me.
- What do you love most about your job?
I love that we are making a big difference to thousands of people of all ages and stages of their life in many countries. Being happy in your job is so important. If you’ve ever been in the wrong job you’ll know how miserable that is for you and those around you.
- How do you stay motivated through difficult times?
By remembering the “why,” i.e. why I am running this business – to transform people’s lives.
- Do you have a work philosophy?
Do what you love, aim high and work hard.
- What advice would you give to your fellow colleagues?
Be yourself. The more you’re you, the more the clients like it.
How I did it…
When I face a big challenge I keep my mind on the big picture and what’s to be gained from overcoming it. That gives me the determination and confidence to face it head on.
My greatest fear is letting down our clients. So far it hasn’t happened because we do a lot of due diligence to make sure we can truly make a difference before we embark on any partnership with a client. I actually think it’s a good fear to have because it keeps us on our game, constantly seeking the best ways to make a difference.
If I could go back in time to when I was 20, I would tell myself not to worry about finding the right job because if I stuck to what I loved and energised me it would work out.
I believe that the more you are yourself, the happier you get.
The biggest lesson I have ever learned is to trust myself and my intuition about people and situations. I’ve ignored alarm bells in the past and it’s cost me dearly.
My favorite business tool or resource is difficult to pin down because I read and research widely all the time. In the past year it’s been Seth Godin’s work since I went to his workshop for “Ruckus-makers’ in New York City. His thinking on marketing is authentic and powerful.
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