I shape, X shape, E shape, Pi shape, what’s up with all this talk about shapes?
Let’s face it, the job market remains challenging, despite stronger hiring numbers for spring. There are 3.1 unemployed per job opening. In this competitive market, it’s no wonder why these conversations are happening.
As one of the many looking for work, I try to keep abreast of what employers are looking for, particularly more innovative companies like IDEO, Apple, or Nike, and that be – T-Shaped People.
So what does it mean to be T -shaped? Two characteristics stand out, as depicted in the letter T – vertically this person has a depth of skill and horizontally, a breadth of knowledge. In other words, T-shaped individuals can really get their hands dirty in the creative process in whatever their expertise is in and they are collaborative with an array of working knowledge. This collaborative nature includes having an enthusiasm about other people’s disciplines as well as being empathetic – the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Why does this matter? This combo makes up an individual that can work with others to understand and solve problems effectively. In a time of rapidly changing markets and moving targets, this type of collaboration is, not only, productive but profitable. There’s no question, that strong leadership is important to make this work, as with anything – the advantage here is that they be T-shaped too. Additionally, something else happens in an environment where you are motivated, and can work together to care about understanding others… Meaningful work. You might just have a truly fulfilling job. And cultures like these – thrive.