5. How do you lead change by being a positive outlier? Ask Amber Scott aka AML Ninja
“Bitcoin and understanding decentralization in general has changed my view of the world and what’s possible.” Amber D. Scott
“Perseverance involves the voluntary continuation of a goal-directed action despite the presence of challenges, difficulties, and discouragement. There are two vectors of perseverance. It requires both effort for a task and duration to keep the task up.”
“Fairness falls under the virtue category of Justice. Justice describes strengths that make life fair. They are broadly interpersonal and describe the best interaction between the individual and a group or community. Fairness is a cognitive judgment capacity that involves reasoning and making judgments. It involves 2 types of reasoning:
- Justice reasoning which emphasizes logic and
- Weighing principles to determine moral rights and responsibilities.”
(Reference: VIA Institute on Character: Bridging the science and practice of character strengths to build a better world)
“Open source and transparency — putting things out there, building on top of great knowledge and new revenue sharing models to shape a better future that inspires all of us. “—
She believes that leaders should not considered themselves to be above others. Amber also reminds us that all leaders are flawed. This is important because in the times we live in, we don’t get to control the message anymore. In other words, our persona and image is vulnerable to rapid social media tweet storms and other viral distribution.
Her advise is to shift our understanding about what it means to be a leader, and look at the whole person.
Leaders are human, and she admires people who bring their whole selves to the world.
“What good is positive business in the industry? The rising tide lifts us all.” Amber D Scott
Amber is a role model for generous lifting of others, and industry cooperation with her competitors, a living example of her philosophy that we have to embrace the idea that we can live in a paradigm of plenty.
And here is her secret for being a positive outlier:
“Why is no-one doing anything? Oh, that’s me. I should not be standing around complaining.”
Amber is energized about being able contribute to problem solving in a meaningful way. As you listen, pay attention to how she naturally takes a leadership and organizing role in Canada’s regulatory ecosystem.
She also describes new best practices in compliance, and why creative problems solving skills will create future opportunity for compliance experts as well as their clients.
Her practical advice is to engage with and learn from the open source cultures, and bring that into the compliance world.
When I her asked if compliance leaders in blockchain depend on organizational culture for success, she suggested the possibility that in the future, open source will reduce the dependency on the “tone at the top” culture, to rather “tones” in your cluster/project. People will be able to move switch to other projects and new business if they feel it is better fit. In other words, this opens a world of non-hierarchical compliance, probably modernized with, for example, behavioural economic “nudge” models.
Personal reflection and community of practice discussion after listening to Amber
Read the definition of positive deviance.
Watch this video clip of Amber speaking about “Let’s all be Outliers”
- What mindset, strategies and behaviours brought Amber from her past to where she is today?
- What did Amber learn about the flaws of being human and how to engage differently with “authority” figures?
- How does Amber create “lift” and a good psychological state for people to listen and cooperate with her?
Leadership Web 3.0 Principles, Practices and Habits
“A positive “outlier” is anyone or anything that lies far outside the normal range. In business, an outlier is a person dramatically more successful than the majority. “ (Adapted from Google definition)
“Positive Deviance (PD) is based on the observation that in every community or organization, there are a few individuals or groups who have found uncommon practices and behaviours that enable them to achieve better solutions to problems than their neighbours who face the same challenges or barriers.” (Pascale, Sternin & Sternin, (2010) the Power of Positive Deviance, Harvard Business Press)
What is solutions focused thinking?
It is a radical approach focusing on solutions — Defining and acting on what is wanted, and what is better.
“As the name suggest, it is about being brief and focusing on future solutions, rather than on problems. When there is a problem, many professionals spend a great deal of time thinking, talking, and analysing the problems, while the struggles go on.” Barry Winbolt — Solutions Focused Thinking
“Solutions focused thinking rejects conventional approaches that share the widespread assumption that focusing on problems (analyzing , reacting to and talking about them) is the best way to solve them.
Solutions focused thinking moves us from wasting time focusing on roadblocks to success to instead focusing on routes to progress.”
With solutions focused thinking, you
- Don’t fix what isn’t broken
- Find what works, and do more of it.
- Stop doing what doesn’t work, and do something else.
Principles of solutions focused thinking
· Change Is happening all the time: Identify and simplify useful change
· There is no one “right” way of looking at things: Different views may fit the facts just as well
· Detailed understanding of the “problem” is usually little help in arriving at the solution
· No “problem” happens all the time. The direct route lies in identifying what happens when it does not happen.
· Clues to the solution are right there in front of you. You just need to recognize them.
· Small changes in the right direction can be amplified to great effect.
· It is important to stay solutions focused, not solutions forced.”
Paul Z Jackson & Mark McKergow from their book The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching & Change SIMPLE.
Why is a solutions focused orientation important in the token and blockchain economy?
The ability to rapidly change and adapt is a key feature of frontier tech. It is said that 3 years of change can take place in 6months.
The overall culture of the token and blockchain generation is that of fixing things, being creative and finding solutions. There is little patience with people who point out problems without also contributing to solutions.
You can explore the difference between problems focused thinking and solutions focused thinking for yourself through the following reflection:
What happens when we talk about and focus on fixing problems?
Think about a challenge you are facing.
Read the questions and concepts below. How does it make your “brain” feel in context of that challenge?
- What is going wrong?
- What needs fixing?
- Past causes (to blame)
- The expert knows best
- Deficits and weaknesses
What happens when we talk about and focus on solutions?
Think about the same challenge.
How does reading the list of questions and concepts below make your “brain” feel? Are you feeling more energized and optimistic about being able to make progress?
- What do you want?
- What is working?
- Where have you already made progress?
- Who has influence?
- Past contributions?
- Resources and strengths
- Keep it simple
What happened to your brain when you moved from focusing on problems to solutions? A little bit of applied neuroscience…..
For a fun and short lecture on how your brain works and the importance of positive emotions, watch this educational video of Sue Langley to gain some additional insights into why problem thinking reduces our ability for productivity and why solutions based thinking increases our ability to be successful.
How does solutions focused thinking work?
Watch this short video to understand how solutions focused thinking works:
The benefits of solutions focused thinking
Solutions focused thinking improves our emotional and social intelligence — and creates more optimum psychological states for ourselves and those we interact with (in person or digitally).
Below are some of the benefits listed by Paul Z Jackson & Mark McKergow in their book The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching & Change SIMPLE.
“· Discovering what works and doing more it, generally is a positive and empowering activity
· By cultivating what is already happening as the seeds of change, you nurture growth through small initiating events
· Changing as little as possible has benefits in time, cost and effort.
· This form of change takes the path of least resistance.
· Asking: When does success happen already? Generates a different kind of conversation from “When do we go wrong?”
· Energy, enthusiasm and cooperation are frequent and welcome side effects.”
Personal and Team Leadership Reflection and Development Activities
Think about a current challenge/issue/problem/goal
- What would happen if you are as clear as possible about what’s wanted (This is the “Solution” on which to focus)
- What can you harness that is already in place?
- How can you use these positive forces to influence the emerging future in the direction of the solution?
- What would happen if you take a direct route to what works by overlooking pitfalls and excursions, such as delving into problems and what’s not working?
Ready to try a Leadership Practice Tool: Brief Coaching using Solutions Focused Thinking
Work with a friend or peer. Take turns. (You can also do this as a group — split up into pairs and then give group feedback.)
Use the process below. You can read the instructions out loud to each other.
Have fun with it — you cannot do it wrong. The focus is on the conversation, not on being perfect.
Key Points to remember
- Give undivided attention.
- Ask more, tell less.
- Project calmness and confidence in the other person.
- End on a positive note.
Follow these Five Steps for finding solutions quickly
When time is limited, this brief, focused format may prove helpful. It needs customizing to the needs of the situation.
Acknowledge the person’s concerns.
Don’t rush into providing solutions.
Avoid getting bogged down in detail.
Now ask each of the following questions in sequence, and allow the other person to respond.
- Could you put the issue / problem into one or two words?
- Could you put those words into one or two sentences?
- Could you tell me briefly what the problem is?
Convert the problem statements into goals:
- What will be different about the situation when its better?
- After we’ve talked what would you know / be able to do?
- In terms of how near you are to achieving the goal, on a scale of 0 to 10, with ten being you are already there and 0 being the opposite, where would you say you are now?
- Where do you need to get to?
- How would you know that you had moved up one point on the scale?
- Can we agree one small step you could take to achieve this?
Once you have identified the small step, then ask:
- What would need to happen for that to happen?
- What would you or anyone else need to do?
Signal ending of the conversation.
- Summarize what person has already achieved during the meeting.
- Summarize the next step they are going to take.
5 Steps Coaching — Reference: Bill O Connell: Focus on Solutions
Fun Activity: Cultural Immersion: Positive Deviant
Once homeless, Christopher Gardner (Smith) turns his life around and becomes the head of his own brokerage firm.
Use the Leadership Web 3.0 publication for a cultural immersion. Start a Leadership Web 3.0 Community of Practice. Contact MaRi Eagar to find out more.
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