The Principles of Individuality
The first principle of individuality is jaggedness. Something is jagged if it contains multiple dimensions, and these dimensions are weakly related to each other. In the language of mathematics this would be called a weak correlation. Unfortunately, according to Rose, one dimensional averagarianism thinking has caused us to believe weak correlations mean something that they do not.
A (0.4) correlation between two dimensions means that we have managed to explain 16% of the behaviors in each dimension. Do we really understand something if we can only explain 16% of it? Well, if our ultimate goal is efficiency and the system, then 16% appears to be enough for most people since Quetelet started applying his astronomy math to human beings. However, if our goal is to identify and nurture individual excellence, then wouldn’t you agree that a 16% correlation isn’t enough to be basing decisions about ALL human beings?
Initially, Microsoft, Google and Deloitte evaluated individuals by ranking them. They too fell into Galton’s belief that if someone was good at one thing, then they must be good at most things. But, they soon discovered that talent can’t be boiled down to one number and then compared to the average because it’s one dimensional thinking.
When organizations embrace jaggedness, like these companies above eventually did, they often feel like they have found a way to uncover diamonds in the rough or to discover hidden talent. However, the real difficulty is not in finding new ways to discover talent, but it is in getting rid of the one-dimensional thinking blinders that prevented us from seeing it all along. And even more importantly, Rose believes that the blinders that we need to take off the most are the ones we use when looking at ourselves. When we recognize jaggedness, we are not only better able to open doors for our own children, students, athletes, and employees, but we’re also able to open doors for ourselves… And that’s a good thing, wouldn’t you agree?
Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. To learn more about Dan please visit his website at: www.DanBlanchard.net. Thanks.