Nilofer Merchant (@nilofer) is one of the world’s top business & management thinkers, and is also one of my new favorite humans. As an operator, she was involved with the launch of over 100 products that collectively generated more than $18 billion (yes, with a B) in revenue, and has gone on to write 3 books, and has taught at Stanford, Santa Clara University, and lectured at Yale as well as to board rooms and audiences globally.
The part of her work that we go deep on in this conversation is the concept of Onlyness, which is that spot in the world only you stand in, a function of your distinct history and experiences, visions and hopes. We explore how to connect with the thread of purpose that only you can see, create belonging with yourself and others, and by doing so make a dent on the world.
Nilofer and I share a belief in the power of including all people’s potential, that if the we could benefit from the ideas and potential in every person, there is no problem we couldn’t solve. This is a conversation about how to connect with your Onlyness and bring it into the world to make the contribution only you can make.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES
- Nilofer Merchant (@nilofer)
- André Delbecq – spirituality in business
- Brené Brown – Braving the Wildnerness
- Amy Edmondson @ Harvard Business School
- Amy’s book: The Fearless Organization
- Clayton Christensen
- Leah Georges – How generational stereotypes hold us back at work
- True – Spandau Ballet
- ENLIVEN episodes mentioned
Nilofer’s clarity/belonging table:
Nilofer, thanks for being here. I’m so excited to spend time with you today. How are you today?
Awesome. Thanks for asking.
Awesome. Well, this is going to be a really fun conversation and I just wanted to first off just express my gratitude and my appreciation to you for your work. I feel like I am personally encountering your work, particularly the topic we’ll spend most of today on, in terms of Onlyness at what just seems to be like the perfect moment, right? It’s like it couldn’t have come at a better time in my own journey. I know we’ll spend a lot of time on that today, but I just want to first off say like it’s at least for me as one person, it’s the perfect thing at the perfect time. So I’m just really excited to spend some time with you today.
Awesome. It already makes me happy. There we go. Done. Check it off for the day. Done.
Yeah, that is efficiency. One thing that just so stood out to me as I was getting ready for this conversation and thinking about what I’d love to talk with you about is just somewhere where you and I really connect is this shared belief that if we could really just, if we could just access everyone’s ideas and potentials, like there’s nothing we couldn’t solve. There’s nothing we couldn’t do. I thought a fun place to start would be, I wanted to, I know you’re an etymology fan and I was hoping you could maybe a starting point would be talk to us about the idea of singular, but not separate.
Yeah. Singular, but not separate. One of the things that we often do is we think about, like when you think about yourself Andrew, you think about the isolated you, and not how you fit into a web, a family, a network of people and network, not in the networking way, but network of humans. So we think about ourselves in this sort of private way and not in the social way. So you are part of both the linear family in which you were born. You’re part of work groups that you’re trying to create value with…