About ten years ago I bit into a cherry tomato and was stopped in my tracks. It was so tasty. I had forgotten when I last t-a-s-t-ed a real tomato. I looked at the plastic packaging and there was the phone number of the farmer who grew the tomato. I rang.
‘Are you the bloke who grows the tomatoes?’
‘Depends on who’s asking,’ was the cautious reply.
‘The happiest bloke on the planet right now,’ I shot back.
It was all about the death of average. It started with a story about tomatoes in 1950 being too round. They rolled off the conveyor belt and slowed production. Enter Jack Hannah and the VF145. It was a square looking tomato. It solved this rolling-off problem. Only thing is it tasted like cardboard but hey, production increased.
They had taken perfect individual tomatoes and changed them to fit into the industrial machine. Average was better.
People were treated like tomatoes.
We have especially approached our education system this way. Seth Godin says, “We hold people back and reprocess them if, at the end of the year, they don’t meet the quality standards. We have built an education system that insists everyone be average.
[Schools are] “in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products… manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry. Ellwood P. Cubberley, Stanford’s Dean of Education
But now it looks like industrialism is coming to an end AND humans are anything but average. Starbucks has more than 80,000 combinations of beverages. Effective schools have embraced the idea that no one is average. The competitive advantage today is to see and respond to the uniqueness in every person.
So if you are feeling that you have faded into the background, that you aren’t being seen or heard for who you are, then it seems the system is starting to change. 4IR, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is happening. What are you doing to position yourself for this change? With every change comes opportunity. Be the one who grabs it because you know where to look for it.
Become part of the conversation. Start moving off the back foot onto the front foot.