Archivo de septiembre/2011


¿Existe realmente el “talento social”?

Escrito el 29 septiembre 2011 por Alberto Andreu en Competencias RRHH

Hace unos días tuve la ocasión de participar en unas jornadas de “Talento Social” organizadas por el Instituto de Innovación Social de Esade, la Fundación Luis Vives, la Fundación ICAI y Sector Cuatro. Y tuve la oportunidad de compartir “cartel” con Ignasi Carreas (de ESADE) y Patricia Moreira (de Ayuda en Accion).

El tema del debate era este: ¿Existe realmente un talento social que le haga ser distinto del talento llamamos “convencional”? No sé si los participantes en la mesa supimos o pudimos contestar a la pregunta, pero reconozco que me fui a casa pensando si realmente hay alguna característica especial que pueda diferenciar uno y otro talento. Y después de darle alguna vuelta, me han salido algunas ideas, la mayoría recogidas en la jornada, pero que, quizá, juntas, puedan dar algunas pistas. Ahí van:

1.      El talento social se basa, sobre todo, en la calidad humana. Ignasi Carreras fue así de directo. Y coincido con él. A lo largo de la historia nos hemos encontrado a muchas personas con talento, pero que, en el terreno personal, no están a la altura, bien por no tener principios, bien convertirse en “picadoras de carne”, bien por pasar por encima de todo y de todos para conseguir sus resultados.

2.      El talento social pone tanto énfasis tanto en el cuánto como en las formas. No todo vale, hay líneas rojas para conseguir las cosas, hay que tener coraje para mantenerse fiel a unos valores y no transgredirlos. Ahí hay talento social.

3.      El talento social es capaz de mirar la organización en busca de aliados para conseguir sus propósitos, mientras que el talento “ordinario” en más individualista, mira más sus intereses y tiende a compartir menos los éxitos y los fracasos. No se trata de buscar consensos (Patricia Moreira lo dejó claro). Se trata de compartir objetivos, entender los dilemas del otro e intentar construir “sociedades” internas.

4.      Fruto de lo anterior, el talento social es más trasversal que vertical. Las organizaciones acostumbran a trabajar en silos, sin compartir recursos (humanos o económicos) y prestando atención a sus propios objetivos. Pero el talento social suele crear fórmulas de win win. Es preferible ganar el 50% de algo, que no el 100% de nada.

5.      El talento social trasgrede las estructuras formales de las organizaciones. Las convicciones (o la ideología, que decía Carreras) son armas poderosas para no pararse en barras ante los obstáculos. Y eso mueve montañas

Y con estas ideas, me fui a mi casa. Y, pensando, pensando, llegué a una conclusión: me guste más o me guste menos, el talento social es más femenino que masculino. Me explico. Existe una teoría antropológica que dice que las mujeres, históricamente, eran recolectoras, mientras que los hombres eran cazadores. Para recolectar hay que andar en horizontal y agacharse a recoger los cultivos, trabajar en grupo para cubrir zonas más extensas… Para cazar hay que ser sigilosos,  aprovechar la oportunidad de disparo y, además, hacerlo casi en solitario.

Y esa puede ser una de las claves. Mientras que las mujeres tiene mayor capacidad de conectar (ideas, personas, conversaciones, grupos, materias), los hombres somos más “monofásicos” (una conversación cada vez, una ejecución a la vez, una idea primero, la otra después…). Me temo que ahí, nos queda mucho por aprender. Nunca es tarde.

Te invito a visitar mi blog:


All the secrets of the difficult art of management

Escrito el 7 septiembre 2011 por Alberto Andreu en Varios

“I’m going to give you the secret to the art of management. Note down these three things and never forget them. First: only choose the best. Second: delegate as much as possible; you should only do what the others cannot do better than you. And third: after having done points one and two, completely support anyone who makes a mistake; no-one will always get 10 out of 10: the secret is to maintain an average of 7 out of 10.”

This is the advice of one of my teachers. He received it, over 15 years ago, from one of the most charismatic presidents of one Bank of Spain. That advice was, and still is, worth its weight in gold. I have applied it whenever I have been able and, moreover, it has also served as a basis for discussion in my classes on leadership or management style etc. However, throughout my career as a lecturer, consultant and manager, I have met few people able to put it into practice. That’s to say, I have met many who have disagreed, not understood or even applied it backwards. So maybe we should look at what is behind that piece of advice.

1. First things first: What does it mean to choose the best? For organisations in good corporate health, the best is the person who, because of brainpower, professional judgement, initiative or independence, capacity for work, is able to thrive and solve complex tasks in a brilliant and efficient way. In other words, the best are usually those who, being given the objective, are able to take responsibility for tough assignments, reduce the need for your involvement, and produce a quality final product. This point includes some ideas:

  • For organisations that are sick and suffering from Slave syndrome (meaning those that allow – under the false appearance of a lot of activity – a yes-man culture, encouraging personal adulation, the protection of acquired privilege and the status quo) “the best” is usually the one who does not overshadow the boss and is willing to do much and think little. I remember the day when one of my bosses snapped, “I take care of the management. I don’t pay you to think; I pay you to do what I say”. I hardly lasted three months.
  • We shouldn’t kid ourselves. It is not uncommon to find organisations that “kill talent”, incapable of taking advantage of the potential offered by a professional who simply thinks differently. On the other hand, it is very difficult to find institutions capable of systematically getting the best, professionally speaking, out of employees working together but with enough personality to apply their own criteria when faced with complex problems.
  • Connected with this very point, choosing the best, I heard another tale of the ridiculous worthy of mention. The old head of one of the largest business groups of the 80s never missed an opportunity to put his employees in their place. “Do you know?” he would say to them “Why, in banking, there used to exist the position of subaltern? Let me explain: sub, because they are under me; and altern, because when I got tired of them I changed them.” Long live democracy.

2. The second point is delegate as much as possible; you should only do what the others cannot do better than you.” In this area, just like the previous one, I have also found different interpretations. For healthy organisations, delegating means assigning tasks and demanding responsibilities. It means defining the what (the objectives), how much (the budget) and when (the timeframe). Above all, it means defining those things while respecting the professionalism of the employees (“I want this done, do it as you see fit, I trust your judgement”), with loyalty (“when you are finished, I will take a look”) and without organisational “noise” (“you are the one who knows how to do it, take responsibility, and don’t hide behind work groups or committees”). But it really means much more:

  • Delegating as much as possible means that your boss is only needed when you, for technical or political reasons, are stuck. In other words, your boss is there to help solve problems, not to create tension or more problems than you already have. They clear the way for you to do your job.
  • However, in dysfunctional organisations, delegation is understood differently. Scapegoats are sought to do the dirty work and it is hidden so that only the few take the credit. In these organisations, it is common to find bosses who want to control everything, obsessed with the smallest detail -their greatest input is to add a couple of commas in a text or change one word for another-, but rarely do they add anything of real depth. They will never teach you to define objectives or understand the global view of a subject. In dysfunctional organisations, delegation of work doesn’t exist. What is delegated, or handed down, is tension and problems, and you can solve them the best you can.
  • Additionally, in this type of organisation you will only ever speak in the first person: I, me, with me, about me… Your boss is that lucky type of superior being that is able to play in any position: goalkeeper, midfielder and centre forward. He is also capable of taking a corner kick and score from his own cross. He will certainly make sure that he is the one who receives all the medals.

3. And now we get to the final point: having done points one and two, completely support anyone who makes a mistake. This is something that never happens in an organisation afflicted with Theodore syndrome. Whenever the boss does not score (after having taken the goal kick, passed through the midfield and centred it for the striker who failed in front of goal), you should know that the buck stops with you, not him. Either you didn’t lose your marker, didn’t create space, didn’t strike the ball well or whatever it may have been. It was your fault.

That’s how it is. It is that sad. How many managers have we known that were able to prosper by passing the buck, that’s to say: laying the blame at the feet of co-workers? This is exactly what bad managers do. They get out of the way when there are problems, don’t support their people and publicly blame them for mistakes.

That said, in healthy organisations, your boss plays firmly in defence for the team and, sometimes, is even the goalkeeper. Their function, first and foremost, is so the opposition don’t score goals. They also have to be capable of motivating the team, play them in the right positions and teach them to pass well. A good manager, like a good central defender or sweeper, gives good support play, will advance for the corner kicks or even score the occasional surprise goal to get the result. A bad manager, however, will want to be at the centre of every play, wants others to do all the work and, most of all, want others to gift him the ball in front of an open goal.

Another point is that a good manager, like a good central defender, cannot always clear the ball close to the area; sometime he will have to foul or launch the ball in “row z”. That’s why the advice “it can’t always be 10/10; it’s about getting 7/10”.  Not all games can be won by a landslide, sometime we need to know how to simply grind out a win.

That’s what the game is all about. Giving your team room. Signing the best, let them do their job and completely support them. It is very, very close to being a good coach. After all, both have the responsibility to lead people.

I invite you to visit my blog

Published in the daily paper “Diario 5 Días” April 6th, 2001


¿Cómo gestionas la “intención del comandante” con tus equipos?

Escrito el 5 septiembre 2011 por Elena Méndez Díaz-Villabella en Uncategorized

“Ningún plan sobrevive al contacto con el enemigo”. El ejército invierte una gran cantidad de energía en su panificación. El problema es que, a menudo, los planes cuidadosamente diseñados se vuelven inútiles a los pocos minutos de empezarla batalla, porque la realidad es imprevisible. Por ello, en los años 80 el ejército estadounidense, cambió su forma de planificar y creó un concepto denominado “la Intención del Comandante”.

“La intención del comandante”, no es demasiado detallada para no correr el riesgo de quedar anticuada, con sucesos no previstos. Se trata de trasladar la intención de la conducta a todos los niveles de los soldados. Una vez que se conoce la finalidad de la conducta, se puede improvisar si es necesario para lograrlo.
Son instrucciones breves y en un lenguaje claro que describen el objetivo del plan. En los altos mandos del ejército puede ser: “quebrantar  la voluntad del enemigo en la zona suroeste”. En los mandos tácticos, la instrucción se vuelve más concreta: “la intención es colocar el tercer batallón sobre la colina este, despejarla del enemigo y proteger el flanco de la tercera brigada”, y así sucesivamente a los niveles más operativos, se va desgranando la intención de lo que tienen que conseguir.

En cuanto la gente sabe cuál es la intención, empiezan a desarrollar sus propias soluciones.

Ningún plan sobrevive al contacto con el enemigo, que describe el coronel Tom Kolditz, director de ciencias conductistas de West Point, en el libro “Ideas que pegan”, es un buen principio incluso para los que no estamos en el ejército.

Ningún plan sobrevive al contacto con nuestros clientes, con la competencia, con los mercados.

La realidad supera cualquier planificación.

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