Cut loose your One-Trick Pony
Meet Sam. He is an art director who also can do a bit of programming. Here’s Anita. She is a copywriter but also takes care of client servicing. There’s Arusha over there. She heads design but also lends her hand in talent acquisition & nurturing. This is how a typical introduction looks like in a modern-day agency.
A creative person today is expected to come up with anything from an ad to a website, a smartphone app to a tv program. Once client briefings took place in a small space of four or five people, now you might find groups of 15 or more. The reason, arrival of T-shaped humans or hybrids. These creatives are a new breed with deep expertise in one area (the T’s deep vertical stroke) and the ability to work through areas in which they are not a specialist (that would be the horizontal stoke).
Most productive creatives have always been a mixture, ability to make expert contributions in their chosen fields of art design or copywriting, but versatile enough in other technical areas to collaborate successfully, or even perform ideas on their own. Some of the new creatives who have arisen are not dilettantes. They have skills to aspire to be in innovative positions that are broader than their career descriptions. Soon resumes and job descriptions would become obsolete. Bye, bye LinkedIn!
These individuals boast of hybrid-ideas that allows them to switch between disciplines. Suppose you are looking for writers or art directors who can create something amazing. Then, the sweet spot is the place where these two talents overlap. The people who are willing to do both. The forward-looking creatives. They come with a broad skill-set that makes them the numero-uno choice for hiring.
A master is like a hammer that excels in two things: to place a nail in and to take one out. This style could be the best for doing a specific task. Jacks, on the other hand, are much like a Swiss Army knife, able to respond to a range of roles and to be useful.
So, when you hire a hybrid, they not only conceptualize the idea along with the creative team, they also help build prototypes to test ideas, do some coding, or be a liaison to the client’s IT stakeholders.
Many agencies continue to adopt a closed approach to responding to briefs, in which employees are asked to perform one specific task and only think about their expertise. As the creative industry becomes more complex with ever-expanding digital capabilities, serving an increasingly diverse and demanding audience, successful agencies need staff that can collaborate across disciplines to ensure that every aspect of a client brief is planned for.
It’s about accepting the notion that creativity is the art of juxtaposing two or more existing ideas into an original combination. We are going into an era in which multidisciplinary workers are flourishing. To become competitive, agencies need to continue accepting individuals with across-the-board expertise, rather than siloed experts.
Much as in the cricket game, all-rounders who are excellent at batting, bowling and fielding go on to become the world’s most popular players. They get a spot in the squad no matter what their form is. The same is true for an organizational all-rounder. They’re important to make a difference, and to obtain an advantage over other industry players.
It’s time to cut loose your one-trick pony and hire the ones that have many tricks up their sleeves.