Finding creative thinking and transformational leadership where you least expect it

By William Seidman I’m working with two groups right now that give new meaning to the term “analytical.” The software quality assurance people are responsible for ensuring that software works as expected. The data analysts trace data paths from entry to use. They ensure that the content is correct as it passes through various functions and databases. They all acknowledge that they are linear, analytical thinkers. They joke (but it’s not really a joke) about “putting the ‘anal” in analytical.” Positive deviants need to be great at doing the software testing or analytical part of their jobs.  But these linear parts have relatively little to do with real success. Instead, the positive deviants in these areas are committed to transformational thinking and decision-making. I want the software quality people to understand the overall business situation — and the tradeoff of cost versus time versus quality. When they do their job correctly, they ensure that business decision-makers really understand the subtle factors for critical decision-making. Data analysts: a lot of their job is to understand the real work conditions that generate data and how that data is going to be used to guide the business. The best ones show business managers new possibilities for running the business. Each of these jobs is about as far away from the typical notion of transformational leadership as you can get. But when you listen to the positive deviants, you learn that greatness in these roles is all about thinking creatively. That is transformational leadership. Have you ever thought of software quality people and data analysts as transformational leaders? I haven’t, either, but they are, or at least can and should be!]]>

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