Maximizing Credit

At AlphaSights, the internship experience is broken down into 6 weeks with one segment and team, 2 weeks with a different segment and team, and then an internship final project during the last week. My 6 weeks with my original team has just come to a close, and I feel that the idiosyncrasy credit model of leadership has played a role throughout my experience with this team.

In general, the people who work at AlphaSights are seemingly cut from the same cloth. The college recruiting that occurs attracts applicants from very similar schools who are involved in similar extra curriculars (usually involving Greek life) and interestingly enough, share the same social circles with each other. It is quite the norm to be a bubbly outgoing person who embodies the five qualities advertised on the website: adaptability, results oriented, driven, humility, and emotional intelligence. It is very much the norm to possess all of these qualities and we are repeatedly told that during our interview process, interviewers were looking for each of these qualities.

Idiosyncrasy credits come into play because the day-to-day life at AlphaSights is pretty predictable and structured. Is it not usual to act out of the norm and people fulfill the roles that are well defined within the leadership structure of the company. For the first 4-5 weeks with my team, I was acting within my intern role pretty fittingly. Aside from the week when my trainer was out and I was able to take on more responsibility as more of an associate than an intern, I have stuck within the norm in terms of contributing to the team and delivering on projects. My team members have learned to trust me with tougher projects and trust that I am taking all the steps I need to on projects. The trust that my manager has in me has also shaped how the rest of the team views me and this has definitely worked to my advantage.

The idiosyncrasy theory of leadership describes an individual’s capacity to acceptably deviate from group expectations. I found myself deviating from group expectations last week when I was unable to deliver on a project. The particular case that I was working on had a very narrow scope and it was very difficult to find people in the field who were willing to consult on the topic. I utilized all of my resources and made sure to do extra research and outreach to find the right people for the project, but eventually had to close out the project. In the earlier stages of my internship, I was monitored heavily and and my trainer would go redo searches with me and advise me to make changes and it would result in me finding the right person for the project. However, this week, my trainer and the project lead had trust in me that I had completed all of the necessary steps to find the right person and instead of doubting my judgement or the work I put into the project, they accepted it. I think this is due to idiosyncrasy credit because they know me to be a performer who can deliver the right person for projects quickly. My usual work is very much in the norm but not delivering on this project was out of the norm but, it was acceptable due to my previous work with the team. I was nervous that this failure on my part would cause some team members to view me differently but I was surprised to see that it did not impact me. In fact, the team member without an intern assigned me a project to basically run on my own which is pretty uncommon for an intern. She trusted me to do all of the research and deliver people despite not being able to deliver on a project just a few days before. Ultimately, this ended up being a great experience for me because I actually got to speak over the phone with one of our largest clients—another thing very rare for interns to do. The project lead trusted me to speak with the client and ask the right questions and act professionally based on my previous work on her projects. It was really a fulfilling experience especially since I closed out my time with the team with this phone call.