SuperPowers – Debbie Dimoff

SuperPowers – Debbie Dimoff

The skinny

Debbie Dimoff is a transfigurist: she can move things from one state to a better one without effort. You would never recognize the shiny new form, except for the fact that all the original pieces are intact. If you need a change to happen with everyone on board (including resistors!), allow Debbie to unleash her SuperPower.

The lead up

Debbie has been in just about every possible situation that a career can dish out. To illustrate the actual breadth of her working spectrum, in the period before the SuperPower reading, she had moved from being a best practice facilitator at Lavalife to a senior internet role at a Canadian bank. (Her “soup to nuts to dandelions” is “online dating to banking to green procurement.”) Debbie was also the senior staff member tasked with leading the wind down of a financial services company. She engaged an out-placement consulting firm for the team. She then ended up going through the process herself.

“I always secretly knew that people hired based on my high energy, even though they didn’t know what I actually did,” she describes of her career leading up to this shift. “I have always seen most aspects of my life as theatre, with characters and scripts. I was always very conscious of the role that I had to play in different situations.”

The range of areas within which she operated covered building customer relationships, launching businesses, and developing consumer and employee experiences. The thread was always an interest in creating the best ever customer experience, which usually entails what Debbie calls “real transformations.” She thrives on being involved in “the guts” of this kind of change and to enable its success.

SuperPower Profile: Transfigurist (not Alchemist)

Naming this was difficult because the imagery of an alchemist, who changes things into a totally new form, is not completely accurate. Deborah could literally take an apple and turn it into a spaceship, but everything about the apple would be preserved in the aeronautic form. Nothing will be lost.

Her very eclectic background was a bit of a red herring in determining what really underpins her success. Simply from being exposed to such an array of situations, she has a great deal of insight into transformation and the transformation process. What started to be clear is that she is able to grasp the requirements of the shift from a very practical and operational level. When she is working on a transfiguration, she brings everything that is required together, but she is able to do it in unison.

From an implementation perspective, her SuperPower is invaluable because she can clearly see the end state of things. She is able to explain to people what the fait accomplit will mean to them, and can create that sense of vision and belief that allows for the transformation to succeed.  She has a natural ability to organize and reorder. She is able to preserve prior characteristics, but reconfigure them to serve the new context. If it needs to change, she will change it in a way that is appealing to absolutely everyone involved. No amount of resistance can stop her when she is working in this way.

All this happens (or did happen) without her being aware of the direct impact that she was having. Through her career of entering environments that had to change, she never saw this as even work, and even put her SuperPower to work in her civic and volunteering projects.

Then what?

Debbie took the new awareness of her SuperPower and “tested it.”

“Initially, I found myself speaking to people using language that wasn’t entirely mine,” she recalls of her first attempts to tell the new story. “I wasn’t being disingenuous, but I was speaking with more romance about what I could do. It is safe to say that not everyone got it.”

In the initial period of attacking the new career shift, Debbie confesses to rocking back on a past behaviour of pushing for something, and if that didn’t work, pushing harder. There was a shift that she explains, when she let her SuperPower insight rise to the surface:

“You can look at your life as a movie, and I realised that I had been playing the roles that others gave me based on what they thought I could do. I realised that I could now pick my own storyline. The storyline was going to be about transforming experiences, which is really what I had been doing all along.”

Rather than a huge self-transformation, Debbie speaks as though not a great deal actually changed in the way she went about things. She describes her new awareness as providing clearer direction, and says, even when things were uncertain, “I became much less panicky about what I should do and where I should do it.”

This gave Debbie the role of “star” in her own movie (“I’d been auditioning for it for years!” she jokes.), but she quickly counters the perception that the star needs all the attention. “I would much rather facilitate a session than deliver a keynote,” she continues. “I can shape the interaction through engagement and create a transformational experience for everyone, including for me!”

Currently, Debbie is working on the transformational experience of her life: bringing social media into the revenue stream of a traditional consulting company. In her new starring role, she has started a Twitter feed, was recently featured in Julia Moulden’s blog on the Huffington Post, and is involved with the group Women in Technology. Debbie is also part of the SuperPower community at www.findmysuperpower.com.