Want to be a well-rounded team? Here’s how you do it.
Want to have a well-rounded team? Stop looking for well-rounded people. “Well-rounded” usually means someone the boss can talk to. I remember trying to be a well-rounded person. I would scan the sports section to be able to talk to my boss about sports, in which I had no interest. I would watch Saturday Night Live even when I wanted to sleep or read, to have something to discuss over lunch. I remember being asked in a job interview what concert I last attended (it had been years) and what sports I played (none). Instead I enjoyed reading fantasy and sci-fi, attending business strategy conferences, fine chocolate (ok, any chocolate, really) eating out with friends and ‘80’s music. I also worked long hours, didn’t drink much, and did charity work on the weekends. My interests didn’t align with the interviewer’s well-rounded ideal. Only when I stopped trying to be well-rounded and instead played on my strengths, my asymmetries, did I make the most meaningful contributions that catapulted my career. Leaders, look for angular people. That is the very definition of extraordinary. And then hire other people who have different extraordinary qualities and asymmetries to make a well-rounded team.
Don’t fret too much if you aren’t “well-rounded.” You just need to find the right team.