I just read a really interesting article in the German magazine Der Spiegel prompting us to hire the ‘freak’ for our management and team. What? You might be confused, but it actually makes sense: Throughout school and college we are asked to stick to the norm and to conform to the rules, but in business, what we really need is disruption, new points of views and boldness.
Those are all virtues that a ‘freak’ as Uta von Boyen calls it in her article, has mastered. A freak can be a person with a special talent or capacity and is in any case a person who stands out, who has not succumbed to what is standard and thinks out of the box. Unfortunately our education (in Germany, but in Europe and most of Western cultures as well) does not incentivize us to think so freely. Students in France are asked to copy from the blackboard (even at the Master’s level) and repeat these studied facts in the exams and even our traditional Human Ressource Strategies don’t look for these ‘freaks’ when using standardized testing or Accessment Centers.
Uta says that this is necessary though if we want to advance. According to her, it is the “non-conformist, people with strong personalities and strong capacities, that give a group its dynamism, new ideas and ability to advance (as an organisation)” and I can just confirm this from the few years of experience and the startups I have known. A group needs the visionary (or sometimes called dreamer, with his head in the cloud), the Doer who rolls up his sleeves and sets to work but also creates big impatience and agitation and even the Initiator, who starts everything with great enthusiasm but seldomly finishes his tasks. I am sure it is not easy working with these people. But where would an organization be without them? Uta von Boyen underlines that all companies need these ‘spiky leaders’ as she calls them, even more so in difficult times.
Let’s open up our organizations to these freaks and be freaks ourselves!