This Model is Wrong, But is it Useful?

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2×2 matrices map extremes. That’s their function. So as drawn, they obliterate nuance. And yes, they are overused.

The measure of a 2×2 matrix isn’t in how well it captures reality, but in the quality of conversation it produces in response to its narrow-mindedness. As you feel out where it fails to accurately depict you or a situation you find yourself in, does it force you to meaningfully examine the underlying factors and forces that produce greater complexity than is shown?

I doodled this on the drive to work today as a way of thinking about the beliefs leaders hold and how they approach the job of leadership. It is clearly wrong and reductive. But does it start a useful conversation?

For me, it made me think about why I advocate for the top-right quadrant but my own instincts often drag me into the lower-left quadrant. I wondered where those instincts came from (my stint in advertising was grounded in confrontational strategies, for example) and how I could overcome them. So for me, it was useful even if it was wrong.

How about you?

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