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Friday, October 05, 2007

Of Proteges and Virtuosos

Not long ago, I had a chance to see a piano recital of two UST students who won scholarship for advanced studies in music in Europe. As I listened to their music and watched with awe the way they showed their mastery of their instruments, I wondered how much and how long it takes to get that good. They are surely not just talented, they are skilled! If they still do not deserve to be called virtuosos, they sure are on their way there!

How did they get that far? I believe that the answer to this question is just as useful to those who are interested in finding proteges in their own line of businesses and wish to turn them into virtuosos.

I imagine that they started at a very young age. The pianists that I saw I mean. Their parents saw that they have the interest and the potential and so their parents jumped on the opportunity to enroll them in piano lessons. There might be times when their interest waned. I can imagine how their parents used various mechanisms to sustain their interest and discipline from incentivicing, to countless pep talks to occasional threatening.

I imagined too how much they fumbled at first and how many mistakes they've made before they became real good at what they do. I imagine the patience of their coaches in honing their talents, in shaping them and carving out the rough edges until eventually they show their real potential as their coaches must have believed they got in them all along.

Developing proteges into virtuosos must be no joke. Identifying who has what kind of talent must be like finding a needle in a hay stack and training them to be really good at what they do must be too ardous for some who do not enjoy training and coaching people. in fact I think it is impossible to turn proteges to virtuosos if the coach does not have the talent and passion for what he is doing. Think Freddie Roach to Manny Paquiao or Phil Jacson to his Chicago Bulls squad.

I believe there are a couple of lessons to be learned here if you haven't seen it yet.
  1. If you want great performers in your team, you should hire a virtuoso or train a protege.

  2. You should know how to spot the two.

  3. If you choose to hire a protege, you must device a strategy for helping them achieve their full potentials. You need to be great at coaching or you must find your team a good coach. You can always play parent.

  4. It pays to have a michael jordan or a manny paquiao or a beethoven in your team.

  5. Lastly, discover what your people are best at and help them do what they do best.

I believe that Ford was able to make the model T happen because he made a decision to make it happen. If you are now in a quandary as to how to use the ideas I just shared, we are in the same situation. I do believe however that if we all make a decision to work with this seed, we can make it grow eventually.

'Till next post!

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