Π Shaped People

By Paul Morris

I have recently been engaged in some recruitment activity and thus looking at character types. What I found interesting (thanks to Rachael Goodwin for the education) was that there is a movement, in some circles, away from T shaped people towards “pi-shaped” people (Π).

Before I get into what I think on the above here is the background….

“T-shaped people” have been popularised in digital marketing over the past few years and basically means T shaped people have a specific expertise where they go really deep (e.g. SEO, PPC, data analytics, etc), but they also have broad interest and sufficiently useful surface-level skills across many other adjacent disciplines e.g. in this case across digital media.

On the other hand Π shaped marketers have a broad base of knowledge in all areas, but capabilities in both ‘left brain’ and ‘right brain’ disciplines. They are both analytical and data-driven, yet understand brands, storytelling and experiential marketing.

So what do I think? Well I think Π shaped people are what you should aim towards if you are willing to pay a premium for talent that will live for a lot of the time in 1-2 disciplines (as businesses generally operate). It’s a great philosophy for senior roles but not for many junior-mid management digital marketing roles. Let’s aim for a Π shaped team but a T shaped person.

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