About Right Connections

Company Story

I know everybody’s got a backstory, and most of them likely played a crucial role in how anyone gets to where they are. So, I will need to start there. If you’d like to skip to the short answer, scroll down to the very last paragraph.

I lost a 21-year career because of my DISC and Drivers style. I grew up very blue-collar in a family where there was not a lot of ambition, and college was never discussed. Most of the family was dedicated to getting by with as little discomfort as possible. This included my mother who suffered from anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia. Being a very experiential learner (passionate instinctive), I observed very early that the primary objective and result desired was to eliminate stress so as to not be nervous, to stay out of trouble and fly below the radar. I know that sounds kind of bad, but my parents were lovely people without a violent bone in their body. It’s just the major theme and pattern that I observed growing up.

Therefore, as I got older, I made it a point intentionally to NOT get a job until after high school. I knew I would be working for the rest of my life, so why not enjoy this time as much as you can? I think I was still getting an allowance for doing yardwork and keeping things clean around the house even at 18 years old! I had no money, or just enough to do what I barely needed.

Jim Carr is the founder and president of Right Connections Coaching and Consulting.

Thankfully, my parents did subsidize some of the required goings-on at that time in my life. It didn’t bother me to be broke. I remember going to the winter dance, my senior year of high school with a beautiful young lady named Kelly (it was no small feat to ask her, by the way). When I went to her home to pick her up, I sat with her father for a few minutes while she was finishing her preparations. He asked me where I was going to college, and I of course, I said I have no plans to go to college. And then of course he asked, what are your plans? I said I have no plans after high school! I can imagine what the conversation must’ve been like the next day at their house. I’m sure it went something like this: Dad to Kelly – you’re not planning to go out with that boy again are you? and result desired was to eliminate stress so as to not be nervous, to stay out of trouble and fly below the radar. I know that sounds kind of bad, but my parents were lovely people without a violent bone in their body. It’s just the major theme and pattern that I observed growing up.

Finally, when I was 19 years old and it was starting to become obvious that I needed to get busy, I used relationships to land an entry-level job at a manufacturing company in my area. I started in quality control at a hearing aid manufacturing company for $4.60 an hour. For me that was a lot of money. There were eight of us in the quality control department at that time, and after about 18 months, I started to grow tired of working with the same eight people day after day. Lovely people, just the same thing every day. Are you starting to get a picture of my drivers and DISC profile?

The only thing I knew about myself was I loved to socialize and get together with friends that I knew. There was a pull or a draw that was nagging me to get to know the 60 or 80 people out in the manufacturing area. I had no drive to learn about manufacturing, I just wanted to meet all the new people out there. It was like high school all over again! Which, by the way – I loved! I Think I was the only kid in my senior class of 653 that was actually disappointed to have to graduate. I was a popular kid somehow – everyone liked me and I seemed to be accepted in all circles. These were my people – I belonged (Hello??? Structured driver?). So, I put in for a transfer out of QC and it was granted.

I started on the manufacturing floor at the most basic level of hearing aid manufacturing. I became friends with everyone out there, just like high school. Interestingly, even though I have a passionate, collaborative driver, my loyalty, consistency, and conscientiousness garnered me a first line supervisor position. Fast forward 21 years. By that time I had accumulated some experience. I had met my wife to be, who was going to college to be a nurse. So I thought I had better try to keep up with her as I’d seen some friends whose long time girlfriends had outgrown them. Not that I wanted to learn anything really, I thought I needed a diploma — so I enrolled at the University of Minnesota part time. I was able to eventually complete almost 2 years.

Midway through the 21 years, I had secured a mid-level management job, and no one seemed to care again whether or not I went to college…especially my company. There was pressure to quit college and dedicate to the job. By the end, I had performed 14 different functions within the organization and reported to 11 different managers in 21 years… I was moving around a lot. The longest of which was where I kind of settled in. Human Resources. While in Customer Service, I was doing some standup training for some decision-making and problem-solving tools that we had procured as well as coordinating an enterprise wide employee suggestion program, and I began to wonder if HR needed any help? The thought barely crossed my mind and I put it out. Two weeks later, the VP of HR came over to my desk and asked me if I wanted to transfer over to HR. God was on the move without my knowledge. I said wow! I just was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago and didn’t do anything about it (surprise). They helped me finish my college degree at 38 years old.

As the manager of staff development, I remember my boss asking me several times during performance reviews, which were all good…”Jim, what’s the suit that fits?” In other words, Jim doesn’t know himself very well, and apparently neither does his boss. This theme eventually culminated with my departure. I will never forget how it happened. My boss who was the VP of HR dropped off the radar for three days. The 10 people in HR could not get any time with him for three days. This was highly unusual. We all were talking about some big possible scenario that would change things up forever.

“What would you like me to do now? I’ve had 14 different functions and reported to 11 different managers, would you like me to do some recruiting or something else?”

He said,
“I don’t have anything.”

After three days he stopped over at my desk at 6:45 on a Thursday morning and asked me if I could stop into his office. I was so excited. I grabbed my notepad and excitedly walked my way over to his office, happy that I would be able to be a part of the solution to whatever this big thing was. When I sat down at the desk, he shut the door behind me, sat down across from me and said “Jim, I’ve lost the support for training and development and I no longer have a job for you.” I have come to learn that these were very key words that were chosen carefully. Of course, the next words out of my mouth were “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He said “I wish I was.” It was like a bomb went off in my stomach. After some of the reality started to sink in, I asked “What would you like me to do now? I’ve had 14 different functions and reported to 11 different managers, would you like me to do some recruiting or something else?” He said, “I don’t have anything. And anything I give you would be viewed as legacy work.” Those were also very carefully chosen keywords that held clues as to why I was being let go. And it had everything to do with my DISC and driving forces profile. But mostly, my inability manage the implications of my style…due to lack of awareness.

How did I end up here, you ask? After 4 long years of trying to figure out what to do next and no resumes landing anywhere that might be remotely desirable. I was able to be a guinea pig for someone who was going through a very professional coach training program. At the end of this guinea pig trial. The coach asked me, “So what have you learned?”. I said “I have learned that I want to be a coach, like you!” Through relationships and networking, I was able to run through a TriMetrix HD assessment with a relatively new associate, who was starting a coaching business where I became the second employee. That changed everything. After a three hour debrief it became very clear why I lost my job of 21 years. Passionate Instinctive, Structured, and Collaborative, combined with 100 Steady, 5 Dominance, 86 Influence and a mid range Compliance – there is not one ounce of leadership in my natural style anywhere! And I have to be told when to get angry.

My inability to understand the implications of this extreme nonchalant, laissez-faire, natural style is what kicked me out of the nest. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, and it’s exacerbated by the environment you grow up in. Funny how I made it work for 21 years!! Thirteen years later, I was able to network with the CFO of the organization that let me go. I said to him, “You were in the meeting where the discussion happened about what to do with Jim Carr. Before I could ask the question, he answered. “Jim, we just didn’t know what you did. No one was working with you, and we told your boss to repurpose you.” My boss of course, took those three days to decide what to do. He correctly decided to terminate through position elimination. Now, I may have been a little bit further behind in the awareness column than most people, as I’d come to find out. But I truly believe that everyone needs to go through some level of what I went through.

So, I’ve dedicated the rest of my career to helping people figure themselves out and create the ability to manage their style for the results and relationships they are looking for. I work to translate that into the business environment where I help leaders navigate the world of right person and right seat and coach around their self-awareness and leadership style. In the process, I have been able to experience transformational conversations that have brought about dramatic actions to further someone’s potential and build successful leaders.

Why Work With Me?

Right Connections was born in 2010 out of a love to help people see themselves for what they really are, and leverage their strengths to be better leaders, employees and people.