What does our business culture today tell us about the path to success? Is there even more pressure to conform if you want to succeed?
On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Sunny Bonnell, co-author of “Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different” discusses how to break the chains of conformity. As a result, her book becomes a a guide for success if you are not like everyone else.
Sonny believes the lesson at the heart of most leadership books is that success is conditional. You only succeed in the business world if you “follow this set path and work your way up the ladder (like everyone else) and fit in.” She explains that this starts early in our childhood where society says that you need to change yourself if you want to succeed. It’s very primitive; “we are taught if we go outside of the herd, we will be cast out…and be devoured.”
According to Sonny, the paradox is that “we don’t choose who we are…why would someone choose a more painful path?” She is disappointed that so much of the business world has a hard time accepting that some people are different because “if you lean into who you are, you feel much more alive…” and that team member can make more of an impact.Sonny believes that successful companies need to support their team members for who they are; “we are human and we are messy.”
When Sonny started her company over a decade ago with her partner, she was told “that we were too broke and too female to succeed in the advertising world.” Many of the organizations that she works with want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, but few will have the courage to take the leap. Sonny explains that “being different means being vulnerable and that is risky…we are not wired for discomfort.”
This is why those companies that do step out and change the marketplace are so extraordinary. This is even more difficult to do for those organizations that have already had a lot of success.
Listen to the entire interview on the Small Business Radio Show.