I have known about the idea of ‘T’ people for years. It just hit me today that this idea is particularly powerful into today’s world!
As you search for Talent… and look to hire the best fiT… look for these T-PEOPLE:
The ‘deep‘ vertical line is pretty clear. CFO’s should know everything about finance. Chief Development Officers (CDO’s) should have a ‘deep‘ understanding of sales, etc.
The ‘broad‘, horizontal line is what makes the difference between a ‘good’ teammate and ‘great‘ teammate.
The ability to bring this background, knowledge and experience to the ‘creativity/innovation table’ is what allows a small but Talented Leadership Team to change the world.
Special Note: Tom Peters wrote many years ago about how much he loved talking with people with ‘GAPS IN THEIR RESUMES’. As always, he was way ahead of his time. The horizontal line across the top of the ‘T’ allows for GAPS IN THE RESUMES, six months backpacking in Europe, doing NOLS or Outward Bound, taking a sabbatical, a trip around the world or whatever else makes you a much more interesting and valuable person.
You can read a great article on this by Brent Schlender from my favorite magazine Fast Company. It’s titled The Lost Steve Jobs Tapes but it is more about his lost years, so called wilderness years, as well as referencing the “barefoot hippie who dropped out of college to hitchhike around India”.
I would say that Tom Peters had it right on… and that Steve Jobs represents the classic T-PERSON. (However, as I’ve noted before, not exactly perfectly balanced.)