Scaling Bright Spots

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Our limited tolerance for divergent thinking in our leadership and organizations…has severely diminished our tolerance for ambiguity, uncertainty and risk.

Instead, we find organizational safety in pushing our creative and innovative thinkers to the periphery, keeping us effectively entrenched in a convergent mindset, answer-focused and question-light, providing relief for and ultimately stabilizing the status quo, insulating and protecting the core from the very ideas necessary to push the organization out of the comfortable existence that it resides in.  The very comfort that settles in and serves as a slippery slope towards future obsolescence and irrelevance.

So we resort to mandates, directives, hierarchical, command and control tactics in an effort to fill the voids and disconnects that we see rising from the systems and organizations built upon unstable foundations of poor design.

The unfortunate thing is all that this structure and approach provides is some semblance of sustaining…for it ends up being neither innovative nor scalable.  It defends, in a time when we must learn to adapt.

But even in the midst of organizational dysfunction and sustaining of outdated systems, there are positive deviants, organizational bright spots who are effectively transforming their work with better strategies, better solutions and better answers to the current problems and challenges our organizations are facing.  And they are doing it within the same culture, the same environment, and with the same resources, processes and structures as everyone else.

However, before we can get to the point of scaling our organizational bright spots, we must first know who they are and what it is they are doing to get the results and outcomes they are getting.  And once we figure who, we must take the time to truly understand what it is they are doing and why.

Far too often leaders and organizations try to scale the what, with only a veneer understanding of the why and how the positive deviance in the system is achieving the outcomes and results that are being achieved.  Often leading to further frustration and dysfunction.

Positive deviance occurs in spite of the current structures, processes and systems that are in place in an organization.  Which requires a reflective stance to truly determine how to allow positive deviance and bright spots to rise and scale up in response to a positive push, rather than frustrated reaction to the organization and the organizational culture and environment.

The thing about positive deviants is that every organization has them.  So the question becomes…

Do you know who they are and the how and why of what they are doing to positively disrupt the system?


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