Saturday, March 31, 2007

On Hidden Champions and Team forming

I like the reading about Hidden Champions. These are companies which are small, but with specific skills. They usually come from old unfashionable industries. With some regional/national/sectorial dominant position.

Now I'll push a little, and do an analogy with team forming. The reason is, in one of my groups, we have some hidden champions. We have like, the obvious champions (it could be Dean's List, or outgoing, quick-minded). But we also have hidden champions. They are the silent blokes, very discreet on campus. You don't know you'd like to work with him or her, until you actually have to do it (imposed groups or last minute groups). Geez, I'm happy to have them onboard. Very diligent, good mood, and results delivery-oriented. I like that.

I guess the main lesson is, don't always go for the obvious, the people that look like you, or the clique. There's a minimum -like shared values, shared ethics shared objectives- but then, go for the different people. Not only will it be added skills, but also challenging mindsets, and lower team conflicts...

It also reminds me one lessons from VOBM Phil Anderson. He claimed that, after some students emailed him about some speakers who were not as, say, outgoing as the norm, there is a cultural component in A-Class people. We are so framed in our Western cultures, that we tend to take for granted that an A-Class person should be volubile, great communicator, super funny, super sharp, etc. But then, in Asia, these kind of people would be seen as arrogant. So don't be fooled by the wrong signals. I'm trying hard not to... Like seeing the small valuable un-trendy hidden champion, rather than just the flashy Fortune 500. Very tough job.

On Hidden Champions:

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