Harvard faculty Laura Huang researches interpersonal relationships and implicit bias in entrepreneurship and in the workplace. The wonderful aspect of this book is that it’s not limited to any particular subject domain or just the business stories of successful people. Rather, it’s extraordinary stories of ordinary people who came from disadvantaged backgrounds infused with evidence-based research. Huang calls this approach EDGE – enrich, delight, and guide – to make your effort go further. These concepts make up the core structure of succeeding within an imperfect system and success ultimately requires knowing who you are so that you can turn that knowledge into an advantage. Here is Huang's approach to creating one's edge.
Enrich - The ability to provide value to and enrich those around you. The difference between those who truly enrich and bring value to others and those who don’t actually bring value. Those who have an edge demonstrate and communicate the value they bring, rather than leave it up to others to determine.
- Hard work should be enough; oftentimes, it’s not.
- Know your weaknesses will help you identify your circle of competence, or “basic goods.” You’ll know not only where you’re valuable, but where you’re invaluable.
- To use your basic goods in distinct ways, go where others don’t.
- Embrace constraints as they provide the most opportunities.
- Trust your intuition and your experiences – your “gut”
Delight - It’s the element of surprise, the unexpected. Delight isn’t about charming, entertaining, or slick. Rather, delight is about violating perceptions, but in a benign way, unsettling and challenging beliefs about your context, grabbing the attention of gatekeepers, and making way for you to show how you enrich
- Before people let you in, they need to be delighted.
- Don’t over plan. Instead, aim for flexibility and opportunities to delight.
- Stay authentic and embrace how delight occurs in situ.
Guide - Empowering ourselves to guide our own contexts. When you know how others see you, it gives you the capacity to guide and redirect that perception, so that you can influence how people grasp and appreciate the value you command.
- "Being yourself” means guiding others to the best versions of your multiple identities.
- Know how others see you, so you can redirect them to how they should see you.
- Guide others to what is within you by recognizing what is around you.
- Guide how others see your trajectory. It’s not where you’ve been; it’s where you’re going.
Effort - Effort and hard work reinforce the edge that you create for yourself. Gaining an edge requires hard work, plus. You need hard work, but when so many factors are driven by outside forces, you also need to know how to allocate effort.
- Turn adversity into your edge.
“Your past is not something that you should lament; it should be another asset in how you gain your unique advantage. Let your past make you better, no bitter.”