In 2006, William Taylor wrote a book called Mavericks at Work. I devoured the book! I loved the concept of rule breakers sticking to their guns to gain authority. This, to me, is the true definition of winning. That you do not need the most gifted players but those with conviction, an uncompromising purpose, the willingness to work hard and a lack of appreciation for convention. Yes, the aforementioned pillars of maverick leadership matched my personal mission to perfection.
The story of moneyball hits the silver screen today. An exploration of the way Billy Beane went to war with convention every day and had a lot of fun doing it. The great Jonah Hill categorized the movie as the ultimate punk rock story during his recent appearance on the Howard Stern show. Like William Taylor’s book, Bennett Miller’s film matches my personal mission.
Through my reflection on the aforementioned works of art, one theme has emerged crystal clear:
Leaders lead because they have a burning desire to challenge the status quo!
Conformity, sticking on the path most traveled and being part of the herd ~ leads to a predictable and manageable life – Booooring!
Every great leader has been met with shaking heads. The nay-sayers always shake in their boots when their inability to step out of their comfort zone backfires.
Great leaders have respect for tradition. So much so, that they feel they owe it to those who have come before them to improve upon their work. You do not need to be a conformist to climb the corporate ladder. You do not have to be agreeable to make progress. The best leaders are not the best followers.
It’s pretty simple, as a person you get to a point when your pride is challenged through your profession. Those who see inefficiency and throw their hand up open a door. Sure, there is an elegance needed to establish new ground. But, leadership starts with two things:
An inability to accept the under-developed ideas of others and the courage to make them better!
Lead, Follow, or get out of the way!