Yet this pressure to ‘follow the crowd’ and use the same systems, is one we all face. It can be a risky business to go against the prevailing weight of opinion and stand up for a unique or unpopular view. In this example however, there might have been benefits to going against the tide with gains possible for the brave, willing to face the potential risks. In working with executives, many experience the pressure to conform and feel this most acutely when the prevailing approach or course of action violates deeply held values or beliefs. This causes stress and an internal conflict that is hard to resolve. Only by understanding the source of this deep unrest can an appropriate course of action be decided. There is then a conscious decision to either follow the crowd, because the risks of separation are too great, or to put in place an alternative strategy more in line with inner beliefs and values. Both approaches can help quell the interval struggle as it becomes clear that you can regain some control and are not at the mercy of the automated lemming control button!
When do you tend to follow the crowd against your better judgement?
Where can you allow yourself to be different?
How can you minimise the personal and organisational risks of taking a brave line?