Tap into Your Talented Outliers!

Are you tapping into your outliers at work? If you don’t know what an outlier is . . . you need to read on. I’ll get you up to speed. 

Outliers Defined:

Remember the curve-breakers in middle-school? It was those 4 crazy-smart kids who got 99.5%, 97%, 95% and 92% on the Algebra II exam when the class average was 72.5%.

Your teacher would say,

“Sorry, no curve on this exam because a few people did really well.”

The class would moan. These curve-breakers are also known as outliers.

Had the class been allowed to turn in a team exam (not individual exams), these math-smart outliers would have carried the entire class into A+ range. But alas, that was not our lived reality. The rest of us, who scored in the 70th percentile, took our Cs and glared at the curve-breaking outliers. 

In middle-school it was hard to be an outlier. The majority of the class was mad at these brainiacs. 

How Outliers Make Impact:

But real-world adult life is (very happily) different from middle-school. When we find special abilities of our adult colleagues that are off-the-charts-better than the rest of the group, we highlight these abilities. Or at least, we try to. Right? 

Last week, in two separate group facilitations, our time spent focusing on the outliers of these teams made the biggest impact. The team I worked with in Lafayette, IN had a big “ah-ha” moment when they realized how to tap into Tanya’s unique ability to hear each person’s story and approach each audience differently. The team I worked with in Indianapolis, IN was shocked and grateful to learn that they had a want-to-be editor for all organizational communications. 

Are you tapping into the unique capabilities of your team members?

If not, you are missing an opportunity.

Let me know, and I can shed some light on your team’s unique abilities and how you can magnify their contributions. 

For more about outliers read Malcolm Galdwell’s remarkable book “Outliers: The Story of Success.”

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