Wikipedia defines this term as:
“Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms, politics or being like minded”
The psychologist Solomon Asch did an experiment to understand how people are capable of conforming:
These types of things happen in all kinds of situations, and it’s essential to understand that some times it’s not good to conform.
I recall this one time during my first internship, I was in one of my manager’s team meetings, and they were discussing the design of an alert. This alert appeared in two languages English and one of the phones; both messages said the same thing. The team decided that it was a good idea.
My mother usually panics whenever she sees something in English, so if this alert appeared on her phone, she would’ve panicked. I thought this design approach was horrible, but I wasn’t able to speak up at the moment; I conformed with what everyone said because I thought I didn’t really understand it.
Let’s not conform with the status quo
This experience of mine helped me to understand the importance of speaking up. At that time, I may have been an intern, but my ideas are as valid as anyone else’s.
It’s important to own our thoughts and speak them up; from that step, there are two possible outcomes:
- You are really right, and you are going to be a real help to the team
- You’re mistaken, but this is an opportunity to learn.
Both outcomes are great options because in both someone wins, and no one loses.
To whoever reads this, please don’t be afraid to speak up, don’t conform, and use these experiences to learn!