Building a CompanyCultureTalent

Team T’s

By December 14, 2009 No Comments

You thought I was going to write about DAXKO’s Kick-Off T-shirt design, but…that’s not it.

The Team T’s I’m talking about here came from an excerpt from “The Game Changer” that Dave G. left on my desk.   The article is about building an innovation team.  I like it.

One of the things that hit home is the importance of intellectual diversity on the team.  In short, to innovate a great product that will succeed in the marketplace takes a few key people with diverse “thinking styles.”  Intellectual diversity means people approach problems and opportunities in very different ways.  There are idea people, project managers, executioners (not as bad as it sounds!), and leaders.  A successful innovation team needs them all, and sometimes more than one from each person.

Different people are going to get to the goal in different ways.  Example:  Market people will look at a market problem and attempt to solve it for a profit (looking out for the business).  Product people, like artists and engineers, fall in love with design, novelty, or functionality (enamored with the killer product/service).  Successful innovation takes both, and will only work when both types recognize the value of the other in reaching the end goal.

Tim Brown of IDEO uses the term “T-shaped” disposition to describe the intellectual profile of innovative teams.  IDEO looks for people with depth in one subject (the down-stroke of the T).   They must also have a breadth of curiosity and willingness to consider other people’s skills (the top part of the T).  These “Type T” people are not easy to find. With drive and passion often comes ego and self-righteousness.  Building a trusting team of T-Players is critical to getting our Association business on a success track.  I am Thankful—with a capital T—that the players on the team already show great signs of being T-Players.

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