Author Chris Flett Answers Your Email Questions!


The Author of "What Men Don't Tell Women About Business," Chris Flett, was busy at work answering Big Idea emails after the show, and now we're bringing them to you here!

For more information on Chris Flett, or to learn more about Alpha Males, check out his book!

Denis from Ft. Lauderdale, FL asks:

What are the common traits of the 'Alpha' charateristic? Can it be learnt and developed over time with knowledge and experience?

Hi Denis,

The Alpha has the following characteristics:

- Driven
- Enjoys the 'hunt' for opportunity
- Enjoys creative conflict (not what you may have seen on the show)
- Is all about business endorsement and building a network of strong, professional people
- Often uses money as a measurement of success

In the book, it talks about what to do when dealing with an Alpha, which I guess in itself is a checklist. Check out the blog posted on the "Big Idea" website and you'll see the points including: being goal driven, getting to the point in conversation, not making excuses, etc.

All the best,


Rebecca from Seattle, WA asks:

I need to ask for a raise. What materials should I prepare before I go in? Should I just wait to see what they offer me?

Hi Rebecca,

Find out what the job pays, get ready to ask for 'what you want', not 'what you think you can get'. Then find a backup plan in case you aren't successful with your request. This could be looking for a different job with a company that places a greater value on your contribution.




Arlando from Ft. Washington, MD asks:

How can I be an alpha male without being called a jerk?

Hi Arlando,

Be direct, be clear, and let those you work with know that you have boundaries for the people you work with. For me and my colleagues, it is no excuses. You are only being a dick if you make people follow rules that you haven't explained. Don't put a square peg in a round hole. If someone isn't a fit, it is likely that you simply need to replace them. There is nothing wrong with being an Alpha. What is wrong is the 'old guard' have made it a practice to destroy people to get ahead. That model doesn't fit in business anymore.




Don from Groton, CT says:

Seems to me that Donny should simply stop saying "I think what Chris is saying..." and make the women stop interrupting him and let him complete a sentence maybe we could learn what Chris is saying.

Also, seems to me that Chris isn't saying this is how it SHOULD be but simply how it is...i.e. If you want get ahead in business, a woman needs to understand how an alpha male thinks, works, etc. Why are these women shouting about how good they are. Who cares? Is this what this show is about?

Hi Don,

I think that some members of the panel were amped up for a fight. Both women admitted to googling me last night to find out what they could. I had hoped that this particular discussion would open up the topic rather than have the two women perpetuate the stereotypes, but unfortunately the latter ruled. The Big Idea is a great show and continue watching it.



Click ahead for more emails

Kathy from Boston, MA asks:

I can handle the alpha males without any issue....I think what needs to be addressed in business is the alpha woman and how she treats other women in business. I believe possessing power is new to women (unlike men) and they don't know how to completely use it to their advantage. You don't have to be a terminator or bitch to be successful. Honestly? I think they are disgraceful..... Those who truly have power don't have to flaunt it... Remember...don't challenge an alpha female either....there is really no difference.

What is your solution on how to crack the alpha female?

Hi Kathy,

Great question and sorry we didn't get to it tonight. The worst enemy to women in business is, sadly, women in business. In the book I talk about the open warfare that women wage against each other. You don't have to be a bitch or the terminator. You need to build your professional currency (made up of 'reputation' + 'specialized skill set' + 'powerful business network'.) When you do that, you have the power and the confidence to ask for what you want and get it.

To crack the Alpha Female code, you'd have to ask an Alpha Female. I only know the male stuff. You should write a book on it. I'd buy it!



John from Palm Coast, FL asks:

Chris i've been working for the usps for ten years now, and i've been attemping to advance in my career, but my supervisor will not give me the opportunity to gain the knowledge in management so that iI may advance. there are a couple of issues that she has with me, first of all i won't bow down, and second she may feel threatened by my determination to move forth, she's idle in the position with no aspiration to progress to the next level. What would you suggest I do. thank you: looking forward to hearing from you.

Hi John,

We can't control how people act, but we can control our environment. If you don't think you are likely to move up under this supervisor, either consider a transfer, or find another company that you might be a better fit with. If you like the industry you are in, consider some of the larger courier companies. If you aren't attached, get out there and find a new opportunity (but only quit after you have found one). It is up to you take control of your career and I know that with focus, you can find something that will help you grow, not try to keep you in place.



Leslie from Falls Church, VA asks:

Chris, I have always behaved like an "alpha male" as I worked in a male dominated field (international science & tech). I was successful. However, I transferred to another agency, also male dominated, and here I am punished for alpha male behavior! Women who do all the things you say NOT to do are the ones who get ahead here. What gives??

Hi Leslie, you saw what gives tonight on the program. There are women that are against women going for what they want and honoring their inner Alpha. In small tightly managed environments, bad behaviors can flourish like mold, but when opened up to the elements (free market) they will die. Find yourself something that is a better fit and change to department that honors your "Alpha".



Click ahead for more emails



Tina from Charlotte, NC says:

I feel you made some very valid points tonight. I am a person who always looked at other women when they said "it's just because I'm a woman" as using that as an excuse but in recent years I've found sometimes it is nothing but because you are a woman. I am the owner of an entertainment agency in the Carolinas and 47 years old. We've been in business 11 years and I am the only female owned and operated agency in our region. The majority of artists I work with are male. I've found they don't listen to me or show me the same respect as my male counter parts. The difference in myself and my competitors is they don't care and will tell these artists what they want to hear and I am the opposite, I do care and tell them the truth. How do I turn this around where at least they will show me the same respect they show my competitors and still remain who I am and what I stand for.

Hi Tina,

This is a great question. It all comes down to "rules and boundaries". Rules are agreements we make to ourselves. Boundaries are rules others have to follow. You have to get clear on what your rules and boundaries are and then follow them completely. I think you have a unique opportunity to niche out the market by you being you so remember that you can't control how people act. Instead you can control how they get to interact with you. Remember that as a woman in business, your bark has to come with bite. If you aren't feeling respected, you must enforce the respect through consequence.



Becky from Redlands, CA writes:

I own a home decore store. It is full of lovely things and smells good too! I have a friendly personality, but some men (who visit with their ladies) seem to just hate the whole idea. How can I make them feel better?

Hi Becky,

Think of something you can put in place to make them feel more at home (think of the stores that have toys or coloring books to keep kids occupied.) I like the idea of fresh coffee and a big leather 'man chair'. When a guy comes in, sit him down, stick a coffee in his hand, and maybe throw in a magazine. He'll be occupied and his wife can enjoy shopping in your store undisturbed.




Roger from Seattle, WA asks:

In a recent performance review, a peer commented that my management style could be improved by "being more stern" when delegating responsibilities and managing my project teams.

I don't consider myself a push-over as a boss, but I could apparently use some more Alpha-tosterone in my delivery.

What are some tips that will allow me to maintain a decent level of likability but also enhance my perception as that "stern" team leader?

Hi Roger,

Simple answer: Measurable deliverables. When assigning works to someone, don't tell them to get it to you as soon as possible. Tell them that you need it by 330PM on Wednesday. Alphas are goal focused. Goals must be measurable. My saying (which I invite you to steal) is: "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." Your staff will know the measurement and will then self govern.




Mark from Hershey, PA asks:

What is the best way to attract investors for our new company?

Hi Mark,

#1. Be clear on what your business model is and how it will make money
#2. Show how it will be produced, or how service will be delivered
#3. Showcase the management team or let investors know you are open to having a management team brought in
#4. Show markets with need and that buy
#5. Put the word out, but make sure you have protected the idea (copyright, patent, etc,) and everyone signs a NDA that looks at the business plan.



To Learn more about Chris, check out his blog, or pick up a copy of his book, "What Men Don't Tell Women About Business"