Yes men? No Thanks!
It’s nice when people agree, but if everyone thought along the same lines all the time, nothing would ever change. Every company needs mavericks.
Independence of thinking should be celebrated and encouraged. This starts from the earliest of ages and continues for the rest of our lives. Schools are all about being able to fit in. Many businesses then follow suit and encourage people to toe the line.
The people who really make a difference are often those who don’t quite fit in. The ones who don’t act in the same way as everyone else and take risks rather than following the status quo. Of course, if you had a company solely made up of mavericks, very little would ever get organised! So it is important to get the right mixture, and to delegate tasks to people with the correct skills sets.
That doesn’t mean you should limit people’s possibilities. The worst culture you can ingrain within a business is an atmosphere of saying yes to everything. When you are debating a new idea, those who disagree are crucial to getting the right result in the end. Yes men will only ever get so far.
Virgin has always had the occasional maverick embedded in every company. A business needs the occasional difficult, oblique, awkward creative person in the mix. Without a little sand in the oyster precious things never get made. As Coco Chanel said: “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
Do you consider yourself one of those people who goes against the grain and challenges established thinking? How are you treated within your company? If the answer is badly, then why not start your own business?