What Are You The Average Of?

In our modern world, we have all come to expect that we will be treated uniquely in every situation. There are some really positive effects that this personalization will have. But we must recognize that even though the world is separating itself into smaller niches, the target audience for each niche is the average person within that group. Thinking about niches leads us to the question: “What are you the average of?”

Sometimes people say you are the average of the five people you hang around with most. This saying is true to an extent. In a world where everything is a niche, you could be the average of many diverse groups. You could be part of a group of senior managers of mid-size corporations. You might also be a coach for Special Olympics. At the same time, you may choose to live in a rural neighbourhood and connect with the other farmers who are your neighbours. In each group, you are going to take on the attributes of the average person in the group. We do this so that we can be effective.

If you are an outlier in a group (either above average or below average), you most likely will have a hard time inspiring change. People are part of a group because it is comfortable, and then enjoy the group as it is. Any change that occurs in a group starts from where they currently are: which is average performance. If you do want to make any significant change, you will start from the place where the average group-member is, and make a move towards the change from there.

You can have a significant impact on a group, simply by being aware of what the group members understand to be acceptable. A shared understanding of what is acceptable is the average of acceptable behaviour. Then slowly move that average to a new point on the scale. Soon the new norm will become the reference point for the group.

What are you average of? Are you working on moving that ‘average’ to a new point?