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Hire the Freaks, Crazies and T-Shaped People

Every organization needs a strong team. Every progressive organization needs a dynamic team that will lead the organization forward. Without a dynamic team of unique personalities, likes and interests the creative culture and the life of an organization grows bland and stale. Individuals who are nontraditional create a healthy tension in the way ideas are generated, shared and executed by offering unpredictable perspectives. Some of dynamic individuals include:
Freaks – As Tom Peters put it, freaks are the only (only) ones who succeed – as in, make it into the history books. Jeremy Gutsche states that Nontraditional thinkers offer the maverick ideas and the personality a company needs to adapt.
Crazies – Hire Crazies and avoid moderation (Kevin Robers, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi)
T-ShapedTim Brown of IDEO, fills his company with individuals that posses this quality. As Tim puts it…

T-shaped people have two kinds of characteristics, hence the use of the letter “T” to describe them. The vertical stroke of the “T” is a depth of skill that allows them to contribute to the creative process. That can be from any number of different fields: an industrial designer, an architect, a social scientist, a business specialist or a mechanical engineer. The horizontal stroke of the “T” is the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. It is composed of two things. First, empathy. It’s important because it allows people to imagine the problem from another perspective- to stand in somebody else’s shoes. Second, they tend to get very enthusiastic about other people’s disciplines, to the point that they may actually start to practice them. Tshaped people have both depth and breadth in their skills. (Read full article by Morten T. Hansen)

Progressive minds and thinkers have an advantage over survival. Every species that does not adapt will eventually become extinct. The same holds true for individuals and businesses. Smith Corona would be in a very different place had it only staffed it’s offices with nontraditional thinkers.
Great companies understand this principle. And, the smart companies do something about it.

Topics - Leadership
Published - June 18, 2010

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