Personalities Type of Person That Startup Must Have

personalities type I shape T shape X shape

In this now, we will discuss about 3 personalities type of people; 

I Shaped Person

I shaped person, that person have depth in their knowledge, but just one skill, the problem is: in a startup, needs so many different skills, so, how this personalities type collaborate when the startup itself mostly an agile, which have much problem and need to be solved also with a lot of skills in a team? Actually that’s fine, because as long as their leader can manage them, problems are solved, because startups also need those expertise. 

T Shaped Person

T shaped person, that was made by David Guest back in 1991 and proposed by Tim Brown in 2010. This person has many skills, and only 1 skill that has depth knowledge. So, this person suits to be manager or team leader, because of the many skills he/she has, can be a great idea and of course it will collaborate when needed. This person knows every perspective of skills, and from that point of view, company plans can be applied easily into every department as well. But, this shape is kind of hard to find.

This is the example of what the T shape person: 

As you can see from the table, this person should have the knowledge of the economy, leadership, marketing, psychology, and really depth knowledge of design collectivism. This is just an example, and can you find this type from your circle? Maybe just 1 out of 10.

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Like Tim Brown the Chair and CO-CEO of IDEO, introduce design thinking with his vision:


It’s about the human; empathy, integrative thoughts, optimism, experimental, and collaboration. His depth is about the design and the breadth is about the human. So you could see from him how important a T shaped person is.

A question that popped up about this type is, what if they lied about their depth skill? Turns out they are not really experts in that skill. Then this is literally useless and you should cut them.
Why Expertise is a must, if they only generalize all and none of them have depth skill, then for what trusting a project to them? If you want your company to move forward, then firmness is a must, make sure they realize that they are not that expert, so in the future, they also can be better. 

X Shaped Person

X shaped person, introduced by David Clifford in 2019 which is really different with all I discuss. This person should have executive skill shape, highlight the ability of the individual, and expertise.

This is the illustration of what x shaped means:

Leadership and executive skills include strategy, lead people, and motivate them. Subject matter expertise is their skill that they have mastered. It is crossed because we can not deliver our subject matter expertise without leadership and executive skills right? And otherwise, we can’t be a leader and maintain the team without the subject matter expertise. 

So, this person suits to be CEO or leader because this type works less on their original expertise as they evolve into management and leadership positions and begin to deal more with strategy and people. 

Like Elon Musk who considered this shape. As you know, Elon Musk is innovative, inspiring, fast-acting, ambitious, and obsessive, but we all know that he’s also an expert in coding. So from his achievements, you could see how important an X shaped person is.

My final question is, what personalities type are you? I shaped person? T shaped person? Or an X shaped person? Actually that doesn’t matter much. Companies should have them all. Collaboration between I shaped, T shaped, and X shaped is important as you know from the example. 

Classify yourself and contribute from the best of your skills. The most important thing is self-awareness.

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