Saturday 16 February 2019

In which I am revealed to be a Hysteric Gibbon...

I have blogged before about four-box models.  This is one that Mike came up with the other day at dinner.  I can’t remember just how the conversation went, but I said something to the effect that he was ‘too normy, stormy, and performy’ (vaguely referencing the well-known team development model.) He was intrigued and asked ‘if that was a thing…’ I explained it was from a different context, but he was off, and came up with this matrix.
On one axis we go from conformy to performy. This is about image, and the degree to which we seek to fit in with social norms (on one extreme) or (at the other extreme) stand out from the crowd.

The other axis is from stormy to normie, and is about temperament, from very volatile, to very laid back.

Having drawn this out, he put himself at the intersection of the axes (the perfect balanced man, as he clearly sees himself) and then plotted the rest of the family.  I, for example, was a little more stormy and a little more performy than he is (as is his elder sister Clare, but more so); his mother is a lot more normy and conformy than he is (as is his younger sister Lizzie, but slightly less so). His eldest sister Annie is stormy and conformy.

So that was fun. And then we realised that we needed to name the quadrants. We started with :
  • Beige (for normy and conformy) and wondered if that was too derogatory, but as neither of us was in that quadrant, we went with it
  • Poseur (for normy and performy)
  • Hysteric (for stormy and performy)
  • and, after some hard thinking, Gatsbic (for stormy and conformy - after Jay Gatsby).

But then we wondered if we would do better to have animals to characterise the quadrants, instead of these labels:
  • Penguin (for normy and conformy) 
  • Peacock (for normy and performy)
  • Gibbon (for stormy and performy)
  • and Collie (for stormy and conformy)

And we realised, of course, that both sets of labels were good, so left both in the final model.

Then (having added a spurious attribution to Jung) we sent the whole thing around the rest of the family for their comment. 

It was Annie who had the genius idea of re-norming the grid with herself at the centre (0,0) point: revealing that this gave a sense of how each of us might see the other. It was particularly insightful, for example, to realise that her husband, Harry, sees all of our family as Hysteric Gibbons…

So I record it here for posterity, and hope that you will find it as useful (or at least as entertaining) as we did.

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