"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.
I-shaped people are I-shaped because of their biggest strength and potentially their biggest weakness. I-shaped people are experts. The “I” represents a deep and thorough dive in an area of specialty and often a corresponding belief in the primacy of their area of expertise and the well-crafted logic upon which they organize their world.
So how do we see I-shaped people?
- About 36% of adults in the US may be I-shaped*
- They are specialists and experts.
- I-shaped people often lead the effort to create or improve products, services, or systems that draw on their area of expertise.
- Valuable team members but not necessarily well-suited as team leaders because of their emphasis on specialization and rules
- Can hold and consider multiple views/different possibilities within their field of specialization and tend to favor the thinking of “authorities”
- Often careful and detail oriented thinkers (understanding the whole from the parts)
- I-shaped people value and strive for authority and clarity
- Thorough and systematic in the application of rules and standards they prefer whole, complete systems and processes as opposed to open, emergent systems
- They are at the heart of every well-run (and maddening!) bureaucracy
- Decision making is strongly evidence and data based
- Value the “objective” over the “subjective”
- Seek perfection in their work
- I-shaped people are often detail vs. big picture people
- May have difficulty delegating as they believe they can do a better, more thorough job
- Tend to be direct, pragmatic and proceed from well-rationalized positions
I-shaped people are, of course, unique. People are unique. The above points are generalizations we have observed along the way as we helped G-shaped people move to “I” and while helping I-shaped people move toward the broadened perspective of “T”. In general, I-shaped people are the “go to” people when expertise is essential. In work, communities and life in general an I-shaped perspective is what brings order and reliability to the chaotic and emergent. Like all the other stages “I” is a valuable and necessary perspective in the evolution of human civilization. Neither right nor wrong, better or worse, it is a framework for and a way of being. I-shaped people do as they do because they act from an “I” or expert based capacity for engaging the world. When necessary I-shaped people may evolve toward “T”, especially when challenged to live and work outside the confines of expertise. For such a move to take place smoothly and cleanly it needs to be understood, encouraged and supported as much as possible. Helping people, communities, organizations and institutions evolve their capacity is our work and passion at Interkannections.
*Based on research done by Susanne Cook-GreuterPosted 29 Apr 08 by Zach Smith