Woodruff and Colleagues

ncreasing Team Productivity

My employment history has involved over 40 positions in more than 15 industries.  Back in 1985 I was told in a mock interview that this pattern of jumping from one job to another was dangerous to potential employers.  I chuckled under my breath as I knew that this was the beginning of change in the workplace and there would be fewer and fewer people willing to commit to 25+ years in one position.  I could already see how business was veering away from loyalty to employees, even witnessing those who were let go within 1 or 2 years of their 25-year anniversary.  No more gold watches.


In her TEDx talk, Emilie Wapnick supports those people who aren’t called to one profession.  She coins the term “Multipotentialite”.  Referring to personal experience, she identifies a pattern (10:50) whereby she would dive into work that was interesting, get bored, then find a new interest.  The idea that she should have a passion for only one line of work frightened her, made her feel like an outcast.  She goes on to identify 3 benefits that a multipotentialite brings to the table; Idea synthesis (5:19), Rapid learning (4:22), and Adaptability (3:11).  Also honouring the person who is called to one passion, she suggests that the pairing of a specialist with a multipotentialite can lead to amazing possibilities.

When I work with teams we use the DISC behavioural analysis to identify preferred behaviour styles.  Over-representation of one style can lead to a multitude of problems, the most dangerous being a lack of creativity and innovation.  Once we establish a balance of preferred behaviour styles on a team, we look at what motivates each team member to action.  My suspicion is that Emilie Wapnick is highly theoretically motivated, which means she needs a challenge or to be constantly learning things.  As one of my top two motivators, I can relate.


About 5 months ago, a 5-year-old close to my heart asked me “What do you think I should be?”.  I answered “I think you should be happy.”.  She responded “No, you know when I work.”.  My response to that was “Well, you can be whatever you want to be, but you must still be sure to be happy.”.  Emilie Wapnick and I agree on that.

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn