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They call them ‘unicorn employees’ – members of staff who have a unique set of qualities that make them as sought-after as the mythical creatures they’re named after. They can be tough to find but have the ability to make a massive impact on your business. You may even be one yourself. So, who are they? How do they work?
And if you aren’t one, how can you become one? We take a look at the traits of a typical unicorn.
Forget the Title.
The term ‘unicorn’ came about in the tech start-up industry, a notoriously cut-throat environment where companies regularly go from being small fry to the major leagues almost overnight. Unicorns were so sought after in this industry precisely because they didn’t define themselves within the parameters of a narrow job title. They needed to be good at a huge variety of tasks, from technical coding to coming up with marketing ideas. Making leaps across different areas is a usual course of action. Similarly, a good unicorn employee will actively expand their exposure to all areas of the business to become multi-skilled – and that makes them valuable.
The Devil in the Details.
We’re used to being told that some people see ‘the big picture’ and work strategically while others are hot on detail and perform better operationally. This just isn’t the case when it comes to unicorns. They have an eye for the smaller things but are also able to think strategically, and this creates rare insight. Keeping in mind company goals, macro-environmental trends and industry connections, but still being able to avoid minor but catastrophic technical glitches is an exceptional talent.
Getting the Job Done Right.
None of the above is helpful if it doesn’t get results. A unicorn can get the job done, whatever it takes – from leading a production meeting to pulling together a mailshot to potential customers. Innovation helps them to drive projects forward. Postgraduate training such as an online MBA programme can help with this follow-through from ideas to delivery. You’re only ever as good as your last set of results, so make sure you become known as someone that can get things done.
Making Wider Connections.
Unicorns are often involved in the broader scene outside of their job – be that mentoring others, authoring articles and blog posts on the industry or speaking at local networking events. So find a way to give back – it could be as simple as running a few lunchtime training sessions on an area of expertise for colleagues, or it could be finding a volunteer opportunity that will expand your skill set in a new direction. This broader experience makes it easier to identify areas to add value to a business and become well versed in problem-solving. Being a unicorn is all about transferable skills that make things run smoother on a day to day basis.
Learning a few unicorn skills can boost your business or get you noticed by senior management. Who wouldn’t want to be part of this elite group?