While you won’t find the word onlyness in any dictionary, it encapsulates Nilofer Merchant’s key insight into how anyone can add value in any industry. By default, every one of us is unique. And what’s unique about you—the way your mind works, the things you see that others miss—that onlyness is value nobody else in the world can compete with. So self-marketing and career success are a matter of identifying, honing, and learning to communicate your onlyness.
In this masterclass, Merchant offers powerful training for leaders, managers, and team members on unlocking the power of onlyness to boost collaboration, innovation, inclusion, and trust in an organization of any size.
What You'll Learn
How to find and self-market your unique value
How to circulate new ideas in an organization
How to improve productivity through big-picture management
How workplace harassment hurts businesses as well as individuals
1. Connect New Voices to the Group
Diversity is a good thing—for workers and for organizations. A workforce that is diverse in culture, gender, and mindset is fertile ground for new ideas and creative solutions. But tokenism—a common misstep on the path to building a more diverse and inclusive organization—is bad for everybody. Any new employee, especially if they’re in an underrepresented group at your company, needs to be welcomed and integrated on the basis of their professional strengths—not singled out as a diversity hire. What, specifically, does this person bring to the table? What connections (with specific colleagues or interdepartmentally) would best unlock their talents?This holds true, too, for new ideas. When you bring someone on to inject a new kind of thinking into the organization, don’t leave them floundering to pitch their unfamiliar ideas to the rest of the team. Think strategically about how to set up “watering holes” within the organization—weekly lunches, for example, or open prototypin...
2. Harness the Power of Ripple Effects with Virtual Collaboration
It’s time to let go of your ideas. Historically people in companies have tended to cling to their pet projects like Gollum to his ring (if you’ll indulge us in a Lord of the Rings reference). While that was probably never the best strategy, it’s definitely not how you develop and scale ideas in a digital world. The “wiki” model is a better approach—with any new idea, you can create a kind of virtual watering hole that’s as public as you want it to be. Put the idea there and invite others to comment on and otherwise make it their own. Instead of dictating to your project managers, ask them to consider how any new project aligns with the shared idea. In doing so, you’re building community around the idea, and from this inner circle it will scale outward.Collaboration works best when ideas are viewed as group property. The goal is to move away from “my idea” thinking to “the idea” thinking.As a leader, you need to make it more clear how to share ideas. For example, consider...
3. Make Your Ideas Mighty Enough to Impact the World
While you won’t find the word onlyness in any dictionary, it encapsulates Nilofer Merchant’s key insight into how anyone can add value in any industry. By default, every one of us is unique. And what’s unique about you—the way your mind works, the things you see that others miss—that onlyness is value nobody else in the world can compete with. So self-marketing and career success are a matter of identifying, honing, and learning to communicate your onlyness.Onlyness: The spot in the world that only you stand in, a function of your distinct history and experiences, visions and hopes; your signature ingredientIn business, your “silhouette”, or the proverbial box you fit into, is what others tend to see first. To add more value to the world, you’ll have to operate from a place of “onlyness”.Be the divergent thinkerInnovation tends to emerge from the edges, not the core. Don’t be afraid to voice–or discover and share–novel ideas. Your input is critical to driving growth.
4. Unbox Your Talent with a New Model of Management
There’s a huge, gaping disconnect between the way we’ve historically managed companies and the ways we need to do business today. “Taylorism”, a “scientific management” philosophy that’s been with us since the 19th century, divides workers and tasks into tiny, manageable units, focusing on increasing productivity through and “assembly line” approach. Under Taylorism, workers need to “stay in their lane”, focused on their own, repetitive task rather than the big picture. Out of habit, Taylorist management remains surprisingly persistent today—but it produces the opposite of what today’s markets demand: conformity rather than creativity. Isolation rather than collaboration. Small rather than big picture thinking. To reinvent management, we need to refocus our priorities on these desired outcomes.Acknowledge the failures of “Taylorism”The old management model supported individual productivity by: 1. breaking down big tasks into small, 2. optimizing for individual perform...
5. Why Everyone Should Care About Sexual Harassment and What We Can Do to Stop it
One good reason for everyone to care about sexual harassment is the fact that every day it makes (mostly) women’s lives, worldwide, miserable. Further, it drives victims from job to job or out of their industries entirely. In short, it perpetuates inequality. And if that’s not enough to activate empathy, here’s a practical reason: it’s holding us all back. By preventing talented women from developing the skills they need to rise through the ranks, sexual harassment denies businesses the diversity of perspectives and skills they need to innovate and grow.The Bottom LineSexual harassment reduces the talent pool for your company—and your industry overall.When talented women leave an industry, they lose the ability to gain power as a cohort.As a result, the industry loses the diversity of ideas that generates innovation.Ultimately, a society’s prosperity suffers when people are discouraged from participating in the economy.Being Part of the SolutionEven when you feel safe, heighte...