Onlyness Made It to TED.com (And, No, It Wasn’t My Talk)

The Silent Generation, baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, Gen Z – we’re all in the workforce together. It’s the first time in history that we’ve had five generations concurrently in the workplace. And the groups don’t love each other. Not in the least. They ask each other to change rather than celebrate their differences. They even talk about each other by their generational name.

But have you ever met a “generation”? No, you’ve met Sarah. Or Baratunde.

This is why this talk Leah George’s talk is so important to watch.

When I shared the talk with TheLi.st (a group wrote about in Chapter 4 of Power of Onlyness), a friend wrote back to me saying, sympathetically, “I’m sorry. “

She assumed I’d be disappointed by having the idea of Onlyness posted on TED.com when it wasn’t my talk. 

Just the opposite, I wrote back. 

“Oh my god, no. It’s fabulous. Are you kidding? Watch it.” 

Leah Georges uses the Onlyness construct to illustrate a key point. Not only does she define and credit it (thanks!), she puts it in the right context and she nails an implication for how it can reshape work. The idea of onlyness was never a marketing exercise. I want anyone and everyone to use the term. It names something important. And until we have a name, we cannot see it. As we celebrate the source of all ideas, onlyness, we find a way forward. For each of us to do the work we’re called to do. For people to see each other as the distinct person we are and the gifts we bring. And for work to stop thinking of the role we fill and instead tap into the creativity each of us offers.

In a world where AI can and likely will replace jobs that require little to no creativity (~80% of the global jobs fit this category), onlyness is the only thing that will save us. The framework to celebrate that which ONLY each of us brings let us redesign how work, works.

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