What kind of shaped professional are you?

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The most common one is the T-shaped professional, or more correctly T-shaped skills, since we’re talking about abilities.

The original term was coined by Tim Brown, Chair of IDEO.

The vertical bar of the letter T represents the depth of the skills in a single field, instead the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines in other areas.

© Mike Taylor

These Shaped-Skills are in demand mostly for the ability to innovate, and strengthen their organisations. For this reason having people with these skills can be a competitive advantage.

So far there are few more distinction in the different types of skills one can use in the market:

  • X-shaped, extracurricular activities and cross-training. Generally in leadership, strategy and team management.
  • I-shaped, specialist in one specific area. Usually without communication skills.
  • E-shaped, combine 4 Es (experience, expertise, exploration, and execution). Mostly focused on execution by being able to transform ideas into reality.
  • M-shaped, multiple specialties.
  • Pi-shaped, combine breadth with multiple specialties (combination of T and M-shaped).
  • Dash-shaped, generalists. Breadth of experience, but little depth.

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