Let the mavericks loose

Who are your mavericks? Do you try and corral them or do you set them loose to inspire and infect others with original ideas? Greetings from Nevis in the Caribbean.


I am headed back to the US capital again this week after a short break visiting a friend and enjoying some sun and sea. But change is in the air with Obama’s nomination as the Democratic hopeful for president. And, as he is the candidate for change, it got me thinking about the people who drag us kicking and screaming out of our self imposed boxes…


Mavericks and renegades push and pull and agitate and motivate, and get us out of our comfort zones and get us to think outside of our carefully constructed boxes. So why do we spend so much time trying to get them to conform to the rest of us?


The Republican nominee John McCain used to be known as a maverick and a bit unpredictable. Today his “maverickness” has become nothing more than a punch line as he has compromised on nearly every position he once took as he tries to fit into the conservative republican box.


Every organisation needs a maverick or two. They keep us on our toes and stop us becoming that box we can all too easily find ourselves in. Who are your mavericks? Do you try and corral them or do you set them loose to inspire and infect others with original ideas?


In his book about mavericks, Bill Taylor, one of the founding editors of Fast Company magazine says “the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something truly original”. The mavericks around us know that intuitively, and can help pull the box dwellers out of their comfort zones.


For some more about mavericks, here are a few books from my reading list (with apologies if some of these are not available on the shelf in Australia – but Amazon.com will ship). Not a business book amongst them, but great stories and food for thought in each one.

Founding Brothers, the story of the American revolution and subsequent founding of the nation was a tale of back room deals and fierce ideological battles by renegades all.

Brunelleschi’s Dome – ever wondered how cranes came to dot our skies with every new building? Brunelleschi’s single-minded mission to build things to look the way he imagined transformed the architecture of his time and forever more.


E=MC2 – Einstein was the ultimate maverick and the journey of his most famous equation is a great lesson in exploding the box!


The Art of Living – Epictetus who was born a slave around AD 55 in eastern Rome but become a reknowned philosopher and was forced to live out his life in exile. There are certainly points in the book that seem out-of-date today, but the character of the wisdom of a great maverick from his time shines through.


See you next week from Denver!


Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.

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