The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the most celebrated artworks in the world. While it’s a striking painting that rightfully deserves its place in The Louvre Museum, one of the most remarkable things about the Mona Lisa is that her creator wasn’t only a distinguished painter, but also a renowned engineer, scientist and sculptor. During the Renaissance it wasn’t unusual to be an expert in many, often unrelated fields. People with multiple passions have been called Renaissance minds, scanners or, most recently, “multipotentialites”, a term coined by Emily Wapnik. They have interests and passions that encompass various topics that are often completely unrelated.
Today, specialization is often seen as key to a successful career. Multipassionate people are no longer celebrated as Renaissance Minds, but rather classed as Jacks of all trades, implying they haven’t mastered any of their diverse interests. However, in the last years we have seen, if you will, a renaissance of Renaissance Minds, with employers, especially small to medium-sized businesses, starting to see the benefits of hiring multipotentialites. Here are a few reasons why you should also consider hiring multipotentialites:
When it comes to processing complex problems and vast amounts of information, something most employees do every day, curiosity is just as important as intelligence and experience. As Albert Einstein once put it “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Curiosity in a wide range of topics is a trait all multipotentialites share. You will rarely hear a multipassionate employee say things like “that’s not what I’m paid for” or “this is how we’ve always done it.”
Curious employees will take an interest in solving complex problems, be driven to find the best solutions and be motivated to keep working where others might have given up.
They’re fast learners
While all multipotentialites have different sets of interests and expertise, one thing that they all share is an eagerness to learn. Multipassionate people enjoy the process of learning new skills, whether it’s a new instrument or civil law. Most multipotentialites have taught themselves how to learn most effectively, either from reading, taking classes or through trial and error. They know what learning style works best for them and can apply these learning techniques to their work. Whether they need to learn new guidelines, new tools or a new language for work, they will be able to pick it up quickly.
Technology, markets and work culture are constantly changing. To keep up with these changes, employees need to be increasingly adaptable. Multipotentialites are used to starting from scratch – it’s what they do every time they explore a new interest. This makes them more able to handle many of the changes a modern work place will throw at them better than specialists could. In small companies, where job descriptions are often less specific, it can be very valuable to have adaptable employees. Multipotentialites will be willing to chip in whenever help is needed in a different department, whether they have experience in that role or not.
They make teams stronger
Of course, specialists are incredibly important to any company. Some tasks will always have to be carried out by experts. You wouldn’t want a general physician to carry out open heart surgery. However, having a few multipotentialites in every team can be very beneficial. Pairing a specialist with years of experience with a multipotentialite can be a great idea. This way you combine specific expertise with outside-the-box thinking, which can lead to new innovations and solutions. The multipotentialite can come up with a handful of crazy ideas that would have never occurred to an expert, while the expert can then work through the finer details to see if the ideas are feasible.
They’re creative problem solvers
While specialists have been trained to understand one area very well and solve problems in that area of expertise, this can be limiting when faced with a particularly complex problem. Whenever multipotentialites start working in a new field, they look at challenges with new eyes. Being able to draw from different fields allows new, creative approaches that might not have been considered otherwise. Creativity is an asset in any employee, and combined with their other traits, can make multipotentialites great problem solvers.
Multipotentialites can make excellent employees, despite their seeming lack of specialization. They have fresh ideas, insatiable curiosity and are creative thinkers. They bring many unexpected talents to the table and will not get tired of learning about different areas of your company.
Have you hired multipotentialites in the past? Please share in the comments!