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Company Dynamics and Interns

By Phil Lower

Everyone one of us has varying strengths based on our natural thought processes and those we’ve learned over time.  However, there are essentially four archetypes that dominate each one of our lives.  They represent our abilities to think Strategically, Diplomatically, Logistically, or Tactically.  Thus, when we work together with customers, suppliers, and team members to resolve business issues we have to be very aware of our group dynamics.

If you’re interested in bringing one or several interns on board to help you while they gain valuable experience, you have to consider their paradigms as well.  Presuming these are relatively young interns, their eagerness to learn can cover or reduce some of the typical signs of how they might fit into your company.  What if they’re older, changing careers, and interested in bringing their experience to your company as an intern? Remember, just because they may be a peer chronologically, they will also need to have time to assimilate and acclimate to their new environment.

Here are some tips to fitting them into a successful internship and thus helping you drive your business forward.

  1. Map out what kind of personality temperaments are present in the company, department, group, or team PRIOR to bringing in an intern.  Why? Simple.  The quickest way to jinx your mojo is to not know the best and highest use for the rest of the team to begin with.  Then, if you notice an area of internal weakness, or you need someone to help work as the tip of the spear, you now know what type of personality you’re looking for.
  2. Don’t forget that while strategic thinking is vital for the direction of the company and its future, interns can also possess this type of thinking.  Thus, their fresh ideas and exuberance can benefit and stimulate your strategic planning.  Danger!  Never assume that you can delegate strategic processes away.  You’re not going to be able to give the intern certain tasks or assignments without being there to oversee what you’ve delegated.
  3. I often refer to Logistical thinking as considering the How’s and What’s in the goals that you want to accomplish.  It is a fallacy to believe that you can just say “Oh, goody, I have an intern now!” and give them those tasks to do.  How’s are typically Tactical or Strategic in nature (but, not always).  Let that one sink in.  You can’t normally delegate them away, it will depend.  Thus, you’re frequently left with What’s.  These can be delegated. But, remember you’re still responsible for their ultimate outcome.
  4. Remember that intellect can be hired, but instinct is innate.  It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway, interview your interns well by knowing what you want to accomplish with them.  If you identify what you desire to accomplish, you have a much higher chance of succeeding and creating a beneficial experience for you, your company, and your interns.

Phil Lower is a Business Coach, Certified Professional Coach, and Founder of Paladin Business Coaching. Reach him at phil@paladincoaching.com


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