T-shaped people are those who have deep depth in one area, but also breadth in many others. This allows them to combine insights from many fields and create collaborative systems that empower people to work well together or to envision solutions that would be impossible for someone with a narrower perspective to imagine.

To succeed in today’s complex world, you can’t just stand in your own shoes, you’ve got to be able to stand in the shoes of others. You must understand how what you do impacts them, not only your peers but also your boss, your clients, and your suppliers.

Wikipedia definition: “The concept of T-shaped skills, or T-shaped persons is a metaphor used in job recruitment to describe the abilities of persons in the workforce. The vertical bar on the T represents the depth of related skills as expertise in a same field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas, and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than their own.”

Closing quote:

“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes; 1809-1894