What’s Your Outsight?
Are you wondering if I got the word “Outsight” right…because all this time we have been taught/told to think about insights?
If this question crossed your mind, let me assure you that I got the word right.
If that is so, what’s your outsight?
Another One – How many of them do you have?
Oops…I actually missed explaining to you what an “Outsight” is.
Before I jump into the details, here is a question for you.
Do we become good by thinking good?
Do we become good by doing good?
While you reflect on this one, here is a hint and some wisdom from Aristotle. He observed (thousands of years ago) that people become virtuous by acting virtuous: if you do good, you will be good.
Another hint: Management Guru Richard Pascale shared, “Adults are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking than to think their way into a new way of acting.”
At this point, you might begin to think if the above questions and hints have anything to do with “Outsight”?
You are about to find the answer soon.
Professor Herminia Ibarra, in her book “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader”, wrote, “When we act like a leader by proposing new ideas, making contributions outside our area of expertise, or connecting people and resources to a worthwhile goal (to cite just a few examples) people see us behaving as leaders and confirm as much. The social recognition and the reputation that develop over time with repeated demonstrations of leadership create conditions for what psychologists’ call internalizing a leadership identity – coming to see oneself as a leader and seizing more and more opportunities to behave accordingly.
This cycle of acting like a leader and then thinking like a leader – of change from the outside in- creates – is what I call outsight.”
Think about the difference in the context of your own work.
We are comfortable doing what we know.
When something new comes up – something that you have not done before or one that you have no internal knowledge of – what do you normally do?
Let’s say you have to modernize your firm and for that, you have to collaborate and partner with a firm.
You will probably think, or You will say that you will think.
But will you do something?
Professor Ibarra further added, “Deep seated ways of thinking keep us from making – or sticking to – the behavioural adjustments necessary for leadership. Our mindsets are very difficult to change because changing requires experience in what we are least apt to do. No one pigeonholes us better than we ourselves do. The paradox of change is that the only way to alter the way we think is by doing the very things our habitual thinking keeps us from doing.
The outsight principle holds that the only way to think like a leader is to first act: to plunge yourself into new projects and activities, interact with very different kinds of people, and experiment with unfamiliar ways of getting things done.
Those freshly challenging experiences and their outcomes will transform the habitual actions and thoughts that currently define your limits. In times of transition and uncertainty, thinking, reflection and introspection should follow action and experimentation – not vice versa.
New experiences not only change how you think – your perspective on what is important and worth doing- but also change who you become. They help you let go of old sources of self-esteem, old goals, and old habits not just because the old ways no longer fit the situation at hand but because you have discovered new purposes and more relevant and valuable things to do.
Outsight, much more than reflection, lets you reshape your image of what you can do and what is worth doing. This knowledge can only come about when you do new things and work with new and different people.”
Have you tried something new lately – for example, reimagining your client experience by having a new conversation with your clients – one that is focused on their financial life rather than products, markets, returns and the economy? Have you shown them visually how much is enough? Have you discussed with them how to be less wrong in the world we live in?
While you ponder over these questions, imagine a box.
This is a big box. Big enough to stand inside of. Like one of those X-ray scanners at the airport.
This is also a very special box. When the old you steps inside it, something magical happens, and you change. When you step out of the box, what emerges is a new, better you.
If such a box existed, wouldn’t you want one?
Well, guess what—the box does exist.
It’s a box I like to call “Getting In Over Your Head.”
It really is magic.
Every time I get in over my head, I come out a better, stronger, wiser, I would even dare say, happier person.
Getting in over your head may be scary. It may be uncomfortable.
But it’s worth it every time.
And how do you get in over your head?
I guess you don’t need any more hints to the answer.
You Act…You Experiment…You let Outsight work for you.
And remember – outsight is not a one-time thing.
It is an iterative process of experimenting with new possibilities.
No amount of thinking, reading, reflecting and debating will be of any use if you do not act on your outsight.
You are likely to have many insights, but the need of the hour is to have real outsights that will help you transform your business and your life. Ones that will help you build a world class firm, grow your business and maximize the value of your creation.
Now that you understand outsight, how are you going to make it work for you?