Einstein said that when you’re in a new era, you don’t want to reset or reboot or reform how we do what we do. It’s about having the courage to rethink, including fundamentals.
We tend to think that behavior is something we do defensively. He was let out of prison early for good behavior. We tell a child to behave right after he misbehaves. What if we saw behavior as the source of our competitive advantage, you know. If you go into the Oxford or Webster’s dictionary you notice that outproduce, outperform – even outdrink or outbox or outsmart and outmaneuver – these are all words because they’ve complied with the standard of inclusion in the dictionary.
They’re part of common vernacular because they commonly describe how we think and how we behave. The word out-behave is not yet in the dictionary. The very idea that we can out-behave the competition, that we can be excellent and excel in our behavior, that behavior is the source of advantage is a brand new idea, but the world is changing so dramatically in ways to rapidly make this idea have real currency.
In very short order we’ve gone from connected to interconnected to interdependence. And while connection and interconnection or being social is an amoral way to describe the world, interdependence is a moral way to describe the world. It means that we rise and fall together where one vegetable vendor and a few friends armed with cell phone cameras can spark a revolution towards freedom throughout the Middle East. And one banker at his desk in London can lose two billion dollars trading at his desk and introduce risk, not only wipe out bonuses for all of his colleagues but create volatility throughout global markets. And imagine what a flash trade can do.
We have never lived in a time where the behavior of any one person can affect so many others in so many ways like never before so far away. And when behavior can be such a force for good, or the opposite, harm, competitive advantage shifts to those who can harness behavior and turn it into that which connects with others meaningfully, richly and deeply and allows them to join in a connection and collaborative endeavor to create real lasting value.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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