|Ruminations and Ramblings
||[Apr. 23rd, 2009|08:30 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
I had a long chat with my Mom last night. Since she's a consultant now too and she's currently on a crappy gig, I was sharing a bunch of my thoughts on office politics, personality conflicts, getting things done, men versus women, and the "stable quartet" (leader, warrior, mystic, clown).
She laughed and told me I was smart, that I made her think, and that I should write a book. For my part, I felt better and (as usual) learned a little more about my Mom (who is awesome, by the by).
Now, as is ALSO usual for me, what seemed like brilliant pages and pages of ideas, theories, and experiences spilling forth and covering every surface with wisdom now appear, in the light of morning, like so many dead leaves. Same soft susurrus and coverage, but no longer useful or readable.
So weird, to me at least.
I like the "leader, warrior, mystic, clown" idea. I think I'd add "merchant" to that list. Not that they have to be five different people. (I'm most comfortable/useful in a hybrid mystic/clown role, myself. I can lead if the situation requires it, am a piss-poor warrior and merchant.)
2009-04-23 09:32 am (UTC)
Can you elaborate on your merchant idea? I'm not grasping it right off. And I often see the role of the mystic as the one who translates the unknown into the understandable - the selling of ideas, in a way.
I'm a warrior, but am often perceived as a leader.
(That can get really awkward when the leader things I'm coveting her job; but I usually don't want the leading job, I just want to get things done.)
Sometimes I play around with the other roles. I think the most stable quartets are ones where each member has a primary role, but can play each of the secondary roles to a greater or lesser extent.
The merchant gets what the team needs, for the lowest price possible, and negotiates the highest possible price for what the team produces.
When the project is stuck because we need some space on the development server and someone to install release 3 patch 12 of product X onto it, she gets on the phone and makes it happen.
When what we really need to do is get the whole team into a room for a two-day brainstorming session but we're not authorized to travel, he wheedles the boss's boss into authorizing it in exchange for us doing some weirdass other thing while we're there that makes her look good.
She does stuff from time to time to ensure that the team has visibility and is seen to be competent and responsive and doing useful stuff.
That sort of thing.
A lot of good managers, in my experience, trade heavily on this skill, and the folks who report to them value it so much they do whatever it takes to make up for their other weaknesses.
On consideration, it's possible you consider this part of the warrior role.
2009-04-23 10:13 am (UTC)
Ahh! In 1980's cultural reference language, you mean like Face from The A-Team
Hannibal was the leader, BA the warrior, and Murdock was the clown. I imagined Face as the interface between reality (tangible items) and the team (on-the-run, out-of-touch). He was also a con man, creating something out of nothing and getting paid for it. There was enough trickery that it fell under the heading of Mystic for me.
Yes, Face was the merchant.
I actually see Hannibal as playing the Mystic role on that team, as well as the Leader role; he was forevermore pulling truth out of the ether. Face was all about perception; he wouldn't recognize truth if it bit him in the ass.
2009-04-23 10:42 am (UTC)
Ah, hmm. Interesting perspective. Must ponder over toast, I think.
well - you sounded brilliant and I am still thinking - maybe we need to tape you musings - so you can hear how clear you sound. Also - the fact that it is hard to go from verbalizing an idea to compressing it into a written essay does not, in any way, diminish the validity of the verbalization piece.
Merchant, hmmmm, sounds a lot like your warrior, does whatever it takes to get something done.