"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry, it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry, it'll change."
-- John A. Simone Jr.
H-shaped people are H-shaped because they have the capacity to act as bridges between distinctly different perceptions, worldviews and cultures. The choices H-shaped people make and the actions they take often reflect this capacity,
So how do we see H-shaped people?
- Approximately 11% of working adults may be H-shaped.*
- The “H”, as mentioned above stands for the ability to hold and feel comfortable with multiple viewpoints or worldviews. The ego can be seen as becoming a little more porous as the individual accepts the perceptions of others as equal and different. In The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom Kelley’s “T-shaped people” are actually a combination of “T” and “H”.
- A common focus of H-shaped people is to be inclusive.
- They are often leaders or spokespeople for diversity.
- In meetings they often strive to have all the voices at the table heard.
- H-shaped people often value process as much as product.
- More capable than T-shaped people of balancing personal goals with the needs and goals of others, H-shaped people may also tend toward a paralysis of deliberation as they seek not to impose their selves on the perceived equally valid views of others.
- H-shaped people, as champions of diversity, can also act as powerful coordinators of information and inputs from a wide range of sources.
- Often believe strongly in equality and egalitarian systems and processes.
- Frequently deeply introspective, they also may tend toward communities and processes of self discovery.
- Because of their capacity to perceive the validity and inherent “truth” in the views of multiple stakeholders, H-shaped people are really the first stage of development to be able to fully apply systems theory and thinking to life and work.
- Potential for eco-systemic thinking and eco-logically coherent action emerges at “H”
- Better suited than most “T” or I-shaped people to lead multicultural projects or projects with complex matrixed reporting lines.
- H-shaped people will often want not just to win the game but explore the effect of the game on the players and the system.
- Fascinated with the present but capable of extending planning to a decade or more.
- May fall into “it’s all relative” and a kind of “free to be you and me” mode of operation.
- Relationships, mutual respect and support, trust and openness often emerge as core values.
- May be irritated or frustrated by perceived T-shaped single-mindedness and drive for results.
H-shaped people, like everyone else, are unique. The above points are generalizations we have observed along the way as we helped T-shaped people move to “H” and while helping H-shaped people move toward the strategically minded stage of “A”. H-shaped people are the first stage of development that moves beyond conventional thinking as defined in the Western tradition. Whereas T-shaped people represent the apex of the “self-made man (or woman)”, an H-shaped perspective begins to deconstruct the rational, Newtonian world and starts playing in the realm of non-linear, trans-rational thought. In terms of sustainability, it is generally from an H-shaped perspective onward that thinking and action can move from “fighting” the next environmental calamity to understanding and using systemic dynamics to problem resolve. Valuable advocates for all stakeholders, H-shaped people are essential in helping the workplace, communities and our institutions move beyond our current mechanistic paradigm. That is capacity. The evolution of which is our business.
*Based on research done by Susanne Cook-GreuterPosted 29 Apr 08 by Zach Smith