An Illinois Tool Works Company
The SHAPE V Talent Model
There is a reason why executive royalty, such as Warren
Buffet and former General Electric CEO Jack Welsh, sought talent beyond traditional criteria like knowledge and skills, which
are also important, says Trevor Wilson, author of The Human
Equity Advantage. Wilson’s solution, the SHAPE V Talent Model,
can be summarized with the following key points:
• Strengths: Consider strength as defined by the 1999
Gallup Strengths Finder study, which includes “consistent
near-perfect performance in an activity.” The study identi-fies 34 qualities, which can be innate and, unlike skills, are
not learned. Individual employees and managers should
not force a square peg into a round hole; if an employee’s
near-perfect, near-effortless strength is in research and
analysis, but not so much in data management, managers
should allocate this resource accordingly.
• Heart: Have you ever wondered what comes first, whether
you’re good at something because you like it, or you like
it because you’re good at it? The chicken-or-egg question
aside, what matters is the passion one has for a talent.
This includes activities a worker would do even if he or
she didn’t have to do it on the job. If a talented manager
won the lottery and decided to quit his job, for example,
he might be inclined to manage people in a local political
campaign or take the helm of his son’s little league team.
• Attitude: There are three general attitudes an employee
might have, according to a branch of study in positive psychology. First, there are those who approach their work as
a job, who seek only a paycheck and benefits. The second
group includes those with a career perspective who seek
advancement. The third group views their work as a calling
and deeply connects with what they do every day.
• Personality: In 2009, nearly $500 million was spent on
personality testing in North America alone. A reliable test
isn’t valuable in so much as it reveals differences among
workers, which are most likely already apparent. The value
of these tests is in showing how and where differences lie.
Understanding differences can lead to an appreciation for
how and why coworkers perform and improve the synergy
• Experience: Who is the person you’re sitting next to at
work; who is she when she’s not making business-to-busi-ness calls, scheduling meetings, or troubleshooting technical problems? How does her race, religion, economic
background, family situation, and overall lifestyle influence
– or not influence – her work life? More importantly, how
might her life beyond work offer diversity of thought in
the workplace? Life experience should not be overlooked
when assessing talent.
• Virtue: “Value in action, that’s virtue,” Wilson says. Candor,
temperance, courage — these traits preempt problems like
public scandals, harassment, and discrimination and foster
a positive moral pragmatism among coworkers and practical wisdom among leaders. With social media continuing
to expose bad behavior and employee morale revealed
to be at a stunning low, this is a significant quality in the
on-going search for the best talent.
For more information on The Human Equity Advantage, visit