26.1.07

Intuits Respond to "Coaching the Alpha Male

Two paragraphs into the HBR article “Coaching the Alpha Male” and I knew: That is not me! Don’t get me wrong: I’m motivated, creative, insightful, and can multi-task with great productivity. There’s only one “problem:” I’m an Intuitive Feeler (an Intuit). With a label like that, Alpha Males immediately start wondering how to avoid me completely. After all, Feelers can’t be good for results, right?

But that’s not how Intuits work. Intuits don’t often lead large companies or corporations but that’s because we don’t want to. The very idea is a bore. We don’t wake up dreaming of the next ladder to climb, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t also on a journey of achievement. Intuits are like a 4D perspective in a 3D business world.

As the article points out, Alpha Males are rapid processors, “unemotional and analytical in their cognitive styles” and “they rely on exhaustive data to reach business conclusions.” Data collected, processed, charted, graphed, critiqued, analyzed, synthesized, organized, and addressed: That’s so 3D.

Contrary to popular presumption, the Intuitive Feeler isn’t anti- any of these things. (For the record, “Feeler” doesn’t mean prone to uncommon fits of giggles or tears.) In fact, Intuits depend upon thorough information for an accurate assessment of any situation. But Intuits are aware as well of 4D-aspects of data and information—call them the assumptions, blind-spots, or “environmental conditions” under which data was collected, analyzed, or presented. Sometimes Intuits function like a smoke-detector: We can identify smoke, but not (immediately) the source. Sometimes Intuits function like quality-control: We can tell when something is not up to par, but not (immediately) what is missing. Still other times, Intuits function like a metal-detector: We beep in the proximity of metal, but may not know (immediately) whether it is gold. When given a voice—and usually a little time—Intuits can offer insight that either prevents significant negative consequences, or more positively and powerfully advance institutional mission.

Even better, Intuits are often content to be in secondary roles: We don’t want that position. Let the Alpha type have it. In environments where job-security can be constantly challenged by the up-and-coming, Intuits are the Alpha Male’s greatest resource. Intuits want to support, but we need the cognitive space and interpersonal freedom to formulate ideas in ways that are very non-Alpha.

Who wouldn’t want such a person on their team? Oddly enough, many Alpha Males do not. For all that Intuits have going for them, they aren’t prone to rapid processing, usually lack confidence in their ideas, and are not generally authoritative—and therefore can seem (or be in actuality) insecure.

What’s more, we don’t understand Alphaspeak. Intuits are illustrative in their verbal acuity—that is, we like to use analogies. Give us a chart and a little time, and we’ll have you a narrative tale that captures every positive and negative element of the data, identifies oversights, weaknesses, or missed potential. On the other hand, give us a chart, shut us down, and dismiss us, and we’ll have you a resignation letter in less than a year.

There are opportunities within corporations today that could, I believe, double net income through revenue increases, expenditure decreases, and previously-unexplored markets, all contained in the unspoken mental conceptions of non-Alpha Intuits, male and female. This is what I would have added as the final point under “What to Expect from Coaching.” What Alpha Male wouldn’t be motivated by a statistic of such proportions?

I know much of what makes the Intuit tick sounds philosophical and abstract, un-chartable. It is, but that doesn’t make it illogical or irrelevant. Rather, the creative, non-linear, verbal and narrative approach to analysis is exactly what makes the Intuit a 4D player in a 3D world.

PS. So, when will do we get an article on that?

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