Jun 18 2019 Aubrey Lehrmann Blog Career Growth How to Be an Invaluable Employee, as Told by Industry Thought Leaders Thought leaders, assemble! We recently hosted a roundtable discussion with the Centro Industry Advisory Group (CIAG). The CIAG is aimed at gathering valuable input from thought leaders to help shape the future of advertising technology and services. Read on for key takeaways: Want to become priceless to your agency executive? Become a T-shaped person. We recently asked the Centro Industry Advisory Group (CIAG) what they look for when hiring and promoting within their teams. There was one common theme from executives when it comes to staffing for the success of a business: Finding T-shaped people is critical. T-Shaped People? What? Also known as generalized specialists, T-shaped people have a thin slice of a broad set of skills, but can also go deep on one or two specific areas. Agency executives are looking for this type of person to work on their most important accounts—someone who brings a deep expertise to a situation, but also understands enough context to make smart decisions. In our industry, this could look like an analytics expert with a solid base of the other aspects of digital media: Context Is King In our example above, even the best analytical mind still needs context about the strategy and goals of a campaign—we work in a complicated industry! Imagine hiring Paul DePodesta, the brain behind Moneyball, and asking him to analyze your campaign. Sure, he could do some amazing work right off the bat (baseball pun intended), but to fully unlock the genius of DePodesta, you’d have to share context with him. What is the KPI? What are the benchmarks? Why did you choose this media mix? What’s the creative call-to-action? What does the landing page look like? You get the idea. Context is someone’s breadth of knowledge about a subject. Building context helps you move faster, catch critical nuances, and make better decisions. Adding just a little context also increases the impact of your expertise exponentially. How to Become a Jack of All Trades, Master of One The first step is recognizing where you are. If you have the breadth and context, begin to think about where you’d like to specialize. Good places to start your search are passions and industry trends. Are you already a political junkie? Specialize in political advertising. Do you recognize the importance of data science in media? Look into continuing education programs or certifications to deepen your knowledge. If you are already an expert in an area, but need the context, start talking to people. Set up coffee chats and be curious about their roles. Build connections, then ask to work on small projects with those teams to get a working knowledge of the landscape. Centro’s software, services, and resources can quickly help you get what you’re missing, whether that’s depth or breadth. Check out Centro Institute to take advantage of our educational resources!