Curtis Chu, a BBA sophomore, discusses what sharks and Monopoly have and common and how those connections can define a leader.
What do sharks and Monopoly have in common? Well, Monopoly is a product of Hasbro Gaming, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, and saltwater fishing is the leading sport in Rhode Island. Monopoly and some sharks both call Rhode Island home, however this is only one of infinite answers to this question. There are many patterns that exist between the two. Some people simply see more than others. The meaning of observing patterns equals connecting dots, seeing the big picture, understand the relationships that exist between two separate entities. Successful leaders can find patterns that others cannot and bring them to a new level, however no individual can be successful alone. It's not that creative individuals don't matter; it's that connectedness makes us more creative.
During my journey through the Ross Leadership Initiative Program, my group and I practiced a large variety of activities from best and worst experiences to values assessment, but the most useful tool of all was at the end of each activity. After completing the tasks assigned for each meeting, we would take 10-15 minutes reflecting on patterns that we observed during the exercise. After 15 minutes of individual assessment, as a group we would take another 15 minutes to discuss our discoveries. Together we would provide ideas that others in the group would not have seen on their own. Those 25-30 minutes provided the biggest takeaway and will be the most useful tool in shaping us as better leaders. If we apply this process to my earlier question, alone I could probably only think of one or two connections between sharks and Monopoly, but opening the question to an audience would produce many more results.
Finding patterns that lead to the next steps in discovery has become more useful now than ever before. Steven Johnson, an American popular science author and media theorist, talks of “adjacent possible” and “liquid networks”. I want to explain each one, and then the impact that each has on explaining the growing prevalence of patterns will become clear. First “Adjacent possible” states that new ideas must come from the components of those that exist in its environment.
“If this seems completely obvious, consider, Johnson says, how it explains the otherwise spooky phenomenon of the "multiple" – the way certain inventions or discoveries occur in several places simultaneously, apparently by chance. Electrical batteries were invented twice, separately, one year apart. (Similar things happened in the earliest days of the steam engine and telephone.)”
Second “Liquid networks” mean large cities, and now the Internet, and make it possible for loose, informal networks to form. If we put adjacent possible and liquid networks together, now represents the best time for new discoveries.
With more possibilities provided to us due to the large amount of existing ideas within our environment, working together to lead the discovery of new patterns has never been more prevalent.
Lastly, Leaders have long been considered inspirational and extraordinary individuals that are able to bring a great idea to life on their own, however that mentality is misguided. Successful leaders are born from the teams they work with not from having teams work behind them. As leaders work together through the interventions in society and understanding the importance of patterns, the possibilities are endless.