A T-shaped profile is a professional who has broad competencies in several areas, critical to the business, while that same professional has a deep competence in a key area of expertise. An X-shaped profile combines a T-shaped profile and strategic thinking able to sheer a company’s strategy.
Understanding the difference between T-shaped vs. X-shaped profiles
T-shaped people have now become an essential part of the business world. As the story goes, a T-shaped profile is a person that has a deep understanding and expertise in one or two areas and a broad knowledge of several other areas:
T-Shaped profiles and skills had become widely popular throughout the 1990s when technical people started to get out of engineering departments to take more and more management roles.
Drawbacks for T-Shaped profiles in the digital age
A T-Shaped profile might have been one of those profiles that thrived throughout the 1990s, however as companies evolved to become more and more entrepreneurial; innovation required also large organizations to organize most of their teams around an entrepreneurial mindset.
While a T-Shaped profile adapted well in an era of relatively fast change, it won’t adapt as well in an age of extremely fast-paced evolution.
Inside an X-Shaped profile
If you want to hit it big, you need to start adding authoritativeness and leadership as critical skills.
That is when you make the jump from T-shaped to an X-shaped profile!
The X-shaped is an evolution of the T-shaped.
Where T-shaped understands that collaboration is a key to growth.
Thus, the X-shaped is together a T-shaped profile and a recognized leader within the organization!
Those sorts of profiles work extremely well in moonshot organizations.
X-shaped profiles, usually are very strong in startups, that are in the early innovative cycles, and need entrepreneurial people at their helm.
In these cases, companies leveraging a sort of flatarchy tend to hire this kind of people.
T-shaped profiles, instead, might be more common in a functional-based matrix organizational structure.
Where the whole company is organized around functional managers, who are hybrid between product developers and marketers.
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