By William Seidman Every large group of people reveals a variation in performance among its members. The positive deviants—or star performers—in a group have figured out how to succeed, even in daunting situations that others find incapacitating. What enables them to outperform others facing the same challenging circumstances? It’s as simple as their attitude. Research shows that these people not only behave differently, but they actually think differently than others do. Perhaps the most important aspect of this perspective is the positive deviants’ passion for what they do. Their passion for their work determines how they make decisions, hire and train others, perceive risk, and seek support. Positive deviants also view themselves as working toward a greater social good, and that makes achieving their goals absolutely vital to them. It is a sense of purpose that drives their great results. Passion combined with purpose is noticeable and infectious. It drives the positive deviant to focus exclusively on achieving their goals. They ignore criticism and conventional wisdom and instead remain focused on the actions that contribute to achieving their goals. Furthermore, they are able to instill their passion and purpose in others, and create a buzz of excitement and efficiency in the process. Positive deviants take advantage of every opportunity to learn and become skilled at focusing on what will improve their performance. What they learn becomes so much a part of them that they don’t even know they know it. Their knowledge seems innate—a unique talent or flair. But it isn’t. It’s compressed knowledge that comes from real experiences, and as such, it can be articulated, analyzed and converted from unconscious attitudes and behaviors into knowledge and wisdom that is available and teachable to others. Once you learn how to unravel this knowledge and wisdom, you can inspire others to learn from it and, in the process, create a culture of leaders.]]>

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