Our work together started with a story from training. We were at a training for coaches where we learned various approaches and methods including team building and leadership. We had to assemble a picture with geometric figures, in pairs. One member of the pair had an 'example', which he was not allowed to name, and the other had a set of squares and triangles. Well, we managed to do our 'dolphin' very quickly! The word later became a saying: 'send the dolphin into a group' meant to see how well a team has built up.
Once, we talked about that story and our impressions of each other. I had thought, 'That's quite some calm and focused person'. Andrei said his impression was, 'Malishevskaya is about efficiency, so we'll make a team'.
Andrei is super-communicative. It sometimes prevents one from seeing how exacting he is. When coaches work in a pair, one is always a good cop and another a bad one. The roles are flexible, but still.
In December 2002, completing training with one of the groups, we received very characteristic feedback. Participants of the project shared their impressions.
'During the first training module, it seemed Galina was the rough and demanding one and Andrei was kind and tolerant. But after the second and the third modules, we understood everything was actually the opposite...'
Media managers are often former journalists. We have many times seen proof that on becoming a manager people face quite serious mental obstacles and refuse to give up on their illusions, or reporter's idealism. This 'break and go over to the dark side' was what Andrei worked on with the group: he 'messed' with the newly-appointed managers' brains, and brought out 'the dark side' of management. Which is based on strategic clarity and operational efficiency, both short-term and long-term.
Andrei has a 'thing': at the end of the whole training programme, after the final group project presentations are delivered and the winners announced, he gives an inspiring speech. And it always works. He says, there is no 'dark side' actually, but in order to see this, one has to complete the whole media management training course and feel for oneself all the pain and responsibility of a media manager, including the work with Excel tables, budgets, and marketing analysis… All of these are complicated and journalists don't like them. Yet such brain 'recoding' is necessary. It is a sort of initiation, joining the 'dark side' to willingly return to the 'bright side' later. Andrei Aliaksandrau is very good at this meta-setting.
I'd like to note another thing. Andrei as a coach and consultant is in very high demand. He has worked in various media markets: Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Lebanon. Having such experience and expertise, a comprehensive view of the industry is formed.