I've creatively collaborated with another person for my whole life: with my identical twin, Mark. Unsurprisingly, we think very similarly, but approach work very differently. When we get into conflict, it's almost always because we're coming idea in a different, but complementary, way.
As we begin to work with more team members and partners at Pathwright, we noticed that everyone else interacts even more uniquely. Optimizing how we work to utilize everyone's unique perspectives and approaches harmoniously became a growing interest.
Personality models – particularly Carl Jung's insights around cognitive functions – helped us make some more sense of it and was a breakthrough for better understanding our twin-differences and differences between us and others on our small team.
But personality models are limited:
At the individual level, personality types only describe preferences, not actual skill or behavior. Yet, the existing taxonomies and packaged insights around a personality type always tend towards too presciptive.
At the group level, personality types break down when more than two people are in view. Let's take the popular MBTI system as an example: if I'm an INTJ working with an ESTP, I may glean some useful tips for optimizing my collaboration with her. But if we add an ISTJ to the mix, it's complicated to work out how all three of us would optimally work together. Add a fourth, and there's no chance. The bi-directional limitation of personality is unfortunate because most productive collaboration involves more than two people.
Mark and I have explored every virtually every human personality model out there, yet still struggled with the two issues above.
The Chaos Map emerged from that struggle one night as I sat down to plan a conversation with a team member about where they might fit best within our group.
It felt like a discovery, not an invention. It formed from a synthesis of psychology, philosophy, and introspection on the genuine differences between me and many other coworkers and friends.
With it, I can visualize the difference between Mark and I's approach to new ideas:
[[🖌illustrate]] where Mark and exist
For a few more examples, see Three Ways I Use the Chaos Map.