Continuing a thread from here…
Rose’s first principle of individually is the Jaggedness principle. This principle asserts that any complex physical or cognitive trait is a collection of multiple traits that can be measured individually and, crucially, any individual is likely to rate above average on some of the traits and below on others. Yet, we tend to look at such complex traits unidimensionally.
The example Rose leads with is big. He demonstrates that there is no definitive answer to the question of which of two men is bigger because big could mean height, weight, etc.
This isn’t a perfect example of the principle because big isn’t something that people really rank order. Intelligence might be a better example. We rank people by IQ or perceived intelligence assuming that intelligence is some monolithic thing and not a collection of jagged traits. We reduce people to a judgement rather than celebrate their internal diversity of skills and interests.
A shortcoming, perhaps, of jaggedness as a principle is that it is not fractal in nature. In other words, big might be a concept made up of multiple components, but the individual components themselves are not jagged. It’s certainly possible to order people by height.
I like the imagery of a jaggedness principle, though. It gives form to the recoil I feel when, as a leader of a team, I’m asked to reduce everyone in my team to a number or category.