Picture a Sumatran Orangutan. She has orange-red hair, prehensile lips, long arms and hands (with a grip that can gently twist a coconut apart), and short legs.

If we thought like most career counsellors, we would suggest she needed to be in an environment with lots and lots of other hairy red apes - and nothing much else. We would call that the Orangutan enclosure at the zoo.

The truth is that our Orangutan is happiest in an environment which is 99.998% not comprised of people just like her. She is very happy being her hairy red swinging self; but she wants to be surrounded by all kinds of tropical trees (preferably covered in fruit); and most of her company is invertebrates, creepers, birds and fungi. That’s the environment she loves. Our career counsellors (or zookeepers) meant well, but they are confusing identity and preference.

Well, what about you? Perhaps we should focus more on brachiating great apes in this blog, but for now, hoomans are our real concern. And we are concerned you might miss out on the environment you will be most at home in.

So take a look at all of these items in your hoozyu report:

  • Interests
  • Focus
  • Grid Interests (Asterisk)
  • Grid Usual (Diamond)
  • Career Families
  • Career Titles

If you can build these together into a picture, they are your equivalent of long arms, orange-red hair and super-flexible lips. They tell us a lot about what motivates you, what you like to do and how you like to do it, and some of the general and particular roles you might really enjoy.

We left out just two hoozyu items: Grid Need (the Circle) and Grid Stress (the Square).

Grid Stress tells us how we will know when you are in the wrong environment (think: the Orangutan enclosure at the zoo), because of how you will start behaving (think: sitting and looking sad, or hooting endlessly).

Grid Need tells us the environment you are going to be most comfortable in. Often we describe this in terms of its characteristics: “plenty to do” or “time to think” or “lots of variety” or “being allowed to focus”. But let’s try to create some simple pictures - the equivalent of a large format colour photo of our Sumatran Orangutan’s rainforest home.

Red: Green:
An action-focused Production environment, where technical competence earns respect and constant incremental improvements are introduced without interrupting the production line. An energetic Sales environment, where opportunities are spotted and chased down enthusiastically, and successes are celebrated.
Yellow: Blue:
A well organised, Administrative or Analytical environment, where no one interrupts your focus without a compelling reason, and data and systems command respect. A stimulating Creative environment, where one can work quietly on ideas, but where it is always okay to drop in on a neighbour to share a breakthrough or kick around a new thought.

To keep it simple, we have just taken the four ‘extremes’ of the Grid colours. If you are near a boundary, your perfect environment may combine two or more environments. But here’s the really important piece: if you have very Green Needs (for example) we aren’t saying you should be a Salesperson (not unless all that stack of Interests, Focus, Usual etc says the same thing). We are saying that you would probably thrive surrounded by an energetic Sales environment.

So for example, if you have a lot of Yellow, analytical scores in the rest of your profile, but strongly Green Needs, then yes, you want to be an analyst (or administrator, or whatever); but you want to do that, surrounded by zany sales people, not more analysts. Get it?

One more example: say you are a super-innovator Blue kind of person in most of your profile, but super Red Needs. What are we saying? Yes, you want to be inventing the next generation product or changing the future (as your job); but you want to be in the thick of the factory or other operational setting, not stuck in an ivory tower with a team of thinkers.

Try that for yourself. Identify what kind of creature you are (using Interests, Focus, Usual, etc); and then have a go at describing your perfect environment, using your Needs. Rainforest? Savannah? Accounts Payable? Advertising Agency?…