Do you want to be
more creative, engaged and boost your energy?
Be yourself and break rules!

Throughout
our lives and careers, we are taught to conform — to the status quo, to the opinions
and behaviors of majority, and to information that supports our views. After a
while, conformity has been so hammered into us that we stop to question the
status quo.

Organizations,
especially the big ones, have been focused on designing efficient processes and
getting employees to follow them.

Now
days, the conformity is bigger challenge than efficiency. Lack of “questioning
and disruptive behavior” hurts the business.

The
most innovative companies promote “constructive
nonconformity”
:
behavior that deviates from organizational
norms, others’ actions, or common expectations, to the benefit of the
organization.


FALLING IN
CONFORMITY

There are three main
reasons why we fall in conformity: social pressure to fit in, acceptance of status
quo and interpretation of information in a self-serving manner.

What is the danger?

When
majority sticks with the status quo, it can lead to boredom., which fuels
complacency and stagnation. The
result is people who feel they can’t be themselves on the job, are bored, and
don’t consider others’ points of view. Big
companies like BlackBerry or Polaroid, not to mention Kodak once had winning
formulas. Overly comfortable with the status quo, they fell back on tradition
and avoided the type of nonconformist behavior that could have secured their
success.

In
addition, we tend to prioritize information that supports our existing beliefs
and to ignore information that challenges them. We also tend to view unexpected
or unpleasant information as a threat and to avoid to face it — a phenomenon
psychologists call motivated skepticism.


CONSTRUCTIVE
NONCONFORMITY

Nonconformity
promotes innovation, improves performance, and enhances authority. For example, research at
the Columbia Business School and Harvard, showed that observers judge a keynote speaker
who wears red sneakers, a CEO who makes the rounds of Wall Street in a hoodie
and jeans, and a presenter who creates her own PowerPoint template rather than
using her company’s as having higher status than counterparts who conform to
business norms.

Going against the
crowd gives us confidence in our actions, which makes us feel unique and
engaged and translates to higher performance and greater creativity.

THE CAPTAIN AND THE
PIRATE IN ONE

How to encourage
and promote constructive nonconformity?

1. BE
YOURSELF

a. what
makes you feel authentic? What is your mission?

b. In collaboration
focus on what job needs to be done rather than how to do it

c. Let
others solve problems on their own

2. BRING OUT YOUR SIGNATURE
STRENGTHS

3. QUESTION THE STATUS QUO

a. Ask
“Why?” and “What if?”

b. Nobody is
perfect

c. Urge for
excellence not basics

4. CREATE CHALLENGING
EXPERIENCES

a. Maximize
variety

b. Try new
ways of doing “old” tasks

c. What is
your personal agenda for learning and growth?

d. Give others
responsibility and accountability

5. FOSTER BROADER PERSPECTIVES

a. View
problems from multiple angles

b. Use simple
language and reduces self-serving bias

c. Engage people
with diverse perspectives

6. CREATE “CONFLICT” OF OPINIONS
AND PERSPECTIVES

a.
Look for disconfirming
evidence

b. Create
different opinions by default

c. Be courageous in opposition

source: FOSTERING REBEL TALENT AT WORK, by FRANCESCA GINO