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I’ve always felt that even when I’m disagreeing with people simply because we have different perspectives on the same subject matter, and maybe I’m talking about a lot of people in that “we” and I’m the only one seeing something the way I’m seeing it, it’s necessarily because of some flaw in how I’m seeing things – or a flaw in how they’re seeing things. It’s more, in my view, that I’ve not explained what I’m seeing in a way that they can see it too – even if they still won’t accept it. But I’ve also always believed that so long as what I was reasoning had reasoning, I didn’t have to give up that perspective – even if I compromise on a solution. And in fact, just contributing the different perspective can change an outcome enough to be satisfactory, even if I don’t get the full change in alignment with how I see things.

Today, thanks to a very savvy organizational behavior guy I’ve met through my work with the EfficientGovNetwork, I learned the term, positive deviant (see also positive deviance) and I am absolutely convinced that that’s an apt description of the role I often play. It’s similar to the notion of disruption, something I also like.

Neither concept is about eliminating anyone or any other particular way of seeing or doing, but rather, it’s about expanding the ways in which groups in particular view whatever it is they’re working on and reach solutions. I think of it as a The Gods Must Be Crazy kind of injection of new ways of thinking about life and all that we don’t know.

Positive deviant. I really really like that.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:30 pm July 25th, 2012 in Government 


3 Responses to “Proud to be a Positive Deviant”

  1. 1 Bruce Gerencser on July 26th, 2012 2:59 am

    I like it! Always wanted to be a deviant. :)

  2. 2 Jill Miller Zimon on July 28th, 2012 4:29 pm

    Isn’t that kind of fun to know?

  3. 3 Roland Hansen on August 15th, 2012 8:18 am

    Positive Deviant. Positive Deviance.
    — The story of my life.

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