Wednesday, December 19, 2018

An Outlier’s Story, Shall You Listen to?

The digital world is so information-intensive and technology-driven, with blurred territories, hyper-diversity, and interconnectivity. 

The digital era is volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous. Business leaders have to understand what it means within their organization, but much more importantly, they have to understand the external changing connected business environment as well as the emerging digital ecosystem. Digital leaders nowadays are expected to constantly propose new ideas and challenging the status quo. Sometimes organizations go stale and need the so-called "shot in the arm" of someone who can think different, see things from the different angles; read between the lines, tell the fresh stories. An outlier’s story, should you listen to?

Mix imagination, intuition with reality: Outliers are expected to constantly propose new ideas, challenge the status quo and make creative communication. Great ideas only happen outside of the usual restraints. Outliers have the interdisciplinary knowledge, and their imagination is not constrained by that knowledge. Their stories are inspirational and creative because they have the growth mindset, make a deep observation, break down the conventional wisdom, be able to see things from different angles and tell the worth-listening stories. Outliers are usually out-of-the-box thinkers; in today’s competitive environment with the increasing pace of changes, the box keeps changing. What was outside the box yesterday, may not be such today. Outlier leaders are usually creatively disruptive, dare to ask deep “why,” to provoke deep thinking, as well as the audacious “why not,” to stimulate the imagination. They refuse to be bound by constraints and limitations and keep pursuing “the art of possibilities.” Making imagination roll into reality is creativity. Thus, the outlier’s story conveys the vision, shares the dream, creates a sensation, inspires changes, motivates actions, and it's the story worth telling.

Blend opposite viewpoints: As the saying goes, every wise thought always has opposite thoughts not less wise. An outlier’s mind is magnetic to attract even “polar opposite” viewpoints. Just like the best photo of the earth has been taken from space, An outlier’s view is upon to see through things from the different angles, keep a certain distance from the environment you observe or experience. An outlier’s story is colorful, interesting, and persuasive. In today's hyperconnected and interdependent global economy, we can learn a lot from different mindsets, cultures, and positions. We all have our own bias, some have more, some have less. When people leave the inside box thoughts and standards to seek additional knowledge and experience, they are stepping outside that box into unfamiliar territory, get to know the complementary ideas, listen to the other side of stories. Thus, we all should desire to become the “outlier” in a certain area, broaden our points of interest and try new things to extend and tell some fresh stories to not just entertain but educate the audience. The outlier’s awareness brings fresh knowledge, neutralized views, and food for thoughts. So people will start thinking in that direction to see if the diverse views can be synergized to come to a common ground and a process found by which human beings can learn to stay away from afflictions and negativity, and start telling compelling stories and making the collective progress.

An outlier’s story is about the future - foresight is an ongoing conversation: In statistics, an outlier is an observation point that is distant from other observations. The outliers can represent real data, keep in mind that exclusion tends to create different outliers. In trading, there is the idea of moving ahead of the crowd rather than following it. Understanding outliers is important for forecasting. Some trends are more significant than others in their impact. Some corrections require more drastic paradigm shifts with corresponding economic impacts or predictable political challenges. From the business perspective, leadership is about future and direction, an outlier’s story is about the future with predictions. If your organization is future-driven, focus on forecasting, you need to understand outliers, listen to their stories, assimilate diversity. But be aware of information quality, as well as their professional reputation. Foresight is an ongoing conversation, this is especially important of understanding today’s “VUCA” digital new normal.

The digital world is so information-intensive and technology-driven, with blurred territories, hyper-diversity, and interconnectivity. No one will have all answers, the outliers’ story is fresh, compelling, and worth telling. Digital leaders and professionals need to constantly refresh the mindset and see change as an opportunity. On one side, they can share their vision and tell their outlier’s stories to the audience for making their leadership influence; on the other side, they should spend more time on listening other outliers’ stories for expanding their thinking box and improving their decision maturity.


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