Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The 'Alpha Male'

{ First who.....then what. Those who build great organisations make sure, they have the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus. They always think first about "who" then about 'what."}-Jim Collins In their paper coaching the Alpha Male, HBR, May 2004, Kate Luderman and Eddie Erlandson define the regularly encountered subject of their treatise as "highly intelligent, confident and successful people who are not happy unless they are the top dogs...Natural leaders, they willingly take independent and action-oriented, Alphas take extraordinary levels of performance for granted...they think very fast and, as a consequence, don't listen to others who don't communicate in Alpha-speak". These are managers who have opinion about everything, believe that their insights are unique and right, and so tend to focus on the flaws in other's arguments and decisions. Sounds familiar? A key factor in the research was that, the more such dynamic, go-getting people achieve and expperince the pressures of excercising senior executive authority, the more pronounced become their faults and weaknesses. Effective at middle manager level and at overseeing processes , they lack the key talents needed to inspire, mobilize and lead people. As the researchers found, most organisations are not very sucessful at developing their talents and channelling the Alphas' potential to help in their transition into more senior, essentially leadership roles. Luderman and Erlandson suggest that, in the US, the figure of Alpha types could be as high as 70% of senior executives. Other opinions that matter while you are reading about Alpha male type. "Alphaness seems to be a characteristic of an interval rather than an ordinal nature. That is, one more possess a little of it, or more of it" To quote Jim Collins, some Alphas are in the wrong seats on the bus and some shouldn't be on the bus in the first place.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Empower the trainer-Give her wings and a few claws too!

"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." -Vince Lombardi I have often seen that training is trainer's baby and it her onus to prove the legitimacy of her baby! Others are there to suggest DNA tests! Trainers who are real trainers spend 5 to 20 times more time and effort pondering and preparing, against the training duration of that program. While the trainer shall be quite sensible and sensitive about the title and the profile of the audience, she must get rights to decide the ground rules and provide objective feedback to participants in general and in particular to individuals who did not or could not sync up with the objectives of the training by acting and behaving in a way absolutely against the motion, ethics and integral values of the program. Training is a test of a trainer and equally it is a test of the participants to wrest the best out of the training, trainer and cumulative experience of the audience. Unfortunately training either becomes a high pedestal preaching or a low level arm-wrestling arena. Giving a few wings to the trainer is the encouragement and support that she might need from the participants in the form of being inquisitive, assertive and participative in the session. While wings set the learning environment in a symbiotic set-up, claws control the behavior and the mind-set of up-setting and rocking the boat. In all cases, a constructive feedback form given to participants as well as the trainer will help management get the big-picture perspective, that shall help decide the wave of change and collective learning. Please take the survey pasted below to help me design the best possible Trainer's feedback form that trainer will fill.