“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules … You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things … they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” (Steve Jobs)
Steve Jobs transformed our world of technology because he had vision and saw things differently. It was this vision that drove him to challenge systems and processes, lifting the game of his team at Apple, tapping into creativity and looking at technology in a different light.
Doing things differently
Success is achieved by being honest with yourself, questioning yourself, challenging yourself to push beyond your capabilities and challenging your thought processes. In doing this, the benchmark will be raised from being a leader to being a front runner in your industry. Your effectiveness as an entrepreneur will have evolved due to the changes within yourself.
As a leader, you have the power to positively impact your team by challenging them, pushing their boundaries and making them think out of the box. Effecting change means that limits must be pushed by doing things differently and in doing so, reaping the benefits of joining the crazy ones.
Leadership expert and author, James M. Kouzes said the following: “The truth is that challenge is the crucible for greatness. The study of leadership is the study of how men and women guide people through uncertainty, hardship, disruption, transformation, transition, recovery, new beginnings, and other significant challenges. It’s also the study of how men and women, in times of constancy and complacency, actively seek to disturb the status quo, awaken new possibilities, and pursue opportunities.”
How are you encouraging your teams to disturb the status quo? What does this mean practically?
Encourage the craziness
There are several ways you can encouraging people to be crazy ones. Give people the freedom to explore, to extend themselves in a positive non-evasive environment. This is the birth ground where significant changes are born. People will bring to the table their best skills and together as a team significant changes can be made in the marketplace.
As entrepreneurs, we need to manage the amount of control we have over people and the way in which we deal with people. If a mistake is made by a team member, our attitude in dealing with the situation could result in creativity and growth without our teams being destroyed. We must never lose sight of the human factor and treat people with respect and dignity.
Also, create the environment for your teams to have rich and open dialogue about issues that matter. We need to allow them to explore new ideas and to learn from podcasts, books and other resources. We should create the scope for them to introduce these ideas into our head space.
Lastly, develop the backbone to stand despite opposition. When we bring change in, people get uncomfortable, people complain and fear cripples emotionally. As leaders, once we start to lead in a new direction or do things differently, we will face opposition, but we need to re-assure our teams and let them see our vision, and in doing so, it becomes a mutual vision. We need to keep standing and moving forward.
In the biblical book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah had a heart to see Jerusalem restored, so he asked the king for permission to rebuild the city walls. He trusted God for the picture of what could be and should be and started to rebuild these walls.
God gave Nehemiah the strategy he needed to do this and provided the resources, but he faced fierce opposition. People from within and from outside the city opposed him. However, Nehemiah saw the change that was needed and kept building. He exhorted the people building the walls to do their work with one hand and carry a weapon in the other. He equipped people along the walls with trumpets to sound the alarm in case of attack and pronounced: “Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us.” (Neh 4:20).
The true crazy ones live by a code that the greatest voice is not given to the unscathed, but to those who have experienced the deep trial of doing things differently. It is this pain born from the trial, if walked successfully, that will anoint the crazy one to speak as a true leader, one that his followers will wish to shadow.
About the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Christianity as a child. Awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ultra Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the trials and successes of commerce for 3 decades.