Many years ago, one of my colleagues in the US used to call me an “anomaly”. He was referring to the way I think and work.
I was not too fond of it, but I never told him.
We all want to belong, to be part of the tribe and feel accepted. Hearing myself being called an anomaly didn’t make me feel that way.
To process that feeling, I started collecting thoughts on the benefits of thinking differently. Here they are, raw and unfiltered. Who knows, in case you feel like an anomaly too.
Over time, that list helped me realize that he was unintentionally making a compliment.
Deja-vu is a trap. It’s easy to fall into it. Making something based on the same perspective as everyone else doesn’t add value.
Common wisdom appears to be a safe bet. Being an anomaly is scary. The idea of being rejected is uncomfortable. However, what stands out and comes across as a bit crazy is always interesting and gets noticed.
Familiar ideas are unlikely to garner much attention. Invest in developing a different way to view things, one that renews our understanding of the world. That’s what people expect from you.
Innovation fights conventional wisdom.
One of the antonyms for innovation is tradition.
You will animate people if your narrative is distinctive and novel. Look for the institutionalized narrative and imagine a way that goes the opposite direction. That’s called change.
It’s not because we are doing something a certain way that it should remain the way it is.
A divergent point of view is a source of disagreement with your competition.
What sticks out is interesting, easier to understand. It’s the handle, the summary of many more ideas below it.
The difference that you are bringing makes it easier for people to choose you.
The one thing to learn from great leaders and inventors is not to copy what they created. It is to create what they didn’t. You can only do this if you depart from what exists and focus on the possibility of doing differently.
Be different. Be weird. Reintroduce what may seem childish into the world of grownups. That requires taking the risk. That means you will bring a bit of chaos into your existence. But what will come out of it is a new order.
It’s OK if you don’t know exactly why at first. Follow your gut. We didn’t exactly know what to do with electricity in the beginning. But we knew it would be an interesting thing to explore.
Go off-road, it’s scarier, but it takes you to the best view.
It’s only a matter of time until what you think is different and unfamiliar becomes mundane. It is the fate of any innovation. Initially, it is exciting, and then it wears out.
Study, but don’t repeat what others did. Steal from them, but don’t copy them.
Changing the setting is an important part of the process of de-familiarization required to change perspective. You already do it when you take your team to a venue outside the office for a strategy retreat.
Your strategic narrative requires a constant influx of new and different ideas. You won’t be able to find them if you stick to the basics.