Do you know your T Shape?

What is your T Shape?

In business, the term “T-shaped” refers to a concept that describes an individual’s skill set or expertise. The “T” represents the combination of broad knowledge and skills (the horizontal part of the “T”) and deep expertise in a specific area (the vertical part of the “T”).

The horizontal part of the “T” represents a broad range of general knowledge, skills and abilities that are applicable across different domains or sectors. This breadth of knowledge allows individuals to have a good understanding of various disciplines and collaborate effectively with professionals from different backgrounds.

The vertical part of the “T” represents the depth of expertise in a specific area or domain. This depth signifies specialised knowledge, skills and experience in a particular field. It is the area in which the individual has acquired advanced expertise and can provide specialised insights and solutions.

Example of a Recycling and Recovery Engineer T Shape

  • Broad knowledge: Understanding of various recycling processes, waste sorting technologies and waste recovery systems.
  • Deep expertise: Specialised knowledge in designing and optimizing recycling facilities, implementing efficient material recovery systems and evaluating different recycling technologies.

Example of an HR Manager

  • Broad knowledge: Understanding of human resources principles and practices, including recruitment, employee relations, performance management, training and development, compensation, and benefits administration.
  • Deep expertise: Specialised knowledge in addressing people challenges, such as managing a diverse workforce, recruitment shortages or workforce development.

How can we use this knowledge?

The idea behind the T-shaped concept is to combine both breadth and depth of knowledge and skills. This allows individuals to be versatile, adaptable and able to collaborate effectively across diverse teams and projects. They have the ability to contribute to different parts of a business while having a specific area of expertise that sets them apart.

Having a T-shaped skill set is highly valued by Smart Leaders as it enables interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and problem-solving.

If we know our personal T Shape and that of others we are able to collectively bridge gaps between different teams, departments, or disciplines.  This fosters a holistic approach to business challenges and opportunities.

Above all, we can also look at how we can improve our cross functional knowledge as well our deep expertise.  So,  knowing your T Shape skills really is a good Growth Mindset tool as well.

And when entire companies embrace a growth mindset, employees report feeling far more empowered and committed; they also have a much greater appetite for collaboration and innovation.

We call it Smart Working!

This is a snippet from our Smart Teams Workshop.  If you want to know more – get in touch.