A fantastic article at Guy Kawasaki’s blog “Signal Without Noise”. He interviews Polly LaBarre with his usual G.K. style and flair, getting her to give insightful and indepth answers. In particular this answer stuck a cord with me:
They (mavericks) all seemed to have a couple of survival strategies in common:
1. They unleashed tough questions and critiques of their organization without losing their sense of loyalty to it. They’re the kind of questions every CEO should be asking. For example, Jane Harper asked of IBM, Why would great people want to work here? And Larry Huston, now vice president of innovation at Procter & Gamble argued, The current business model for R&D is broken. How can P&G possibly build all of the scientific capabilities we need by ourselves?
2. Mavericks don’t just ask questions, they act. We saw this again and again: they just got started-usually without a budget or formal permission-by designing an experiment around their question. Jane Harper launched an experimental Extreme Blue lab in Cambridge and spent a couple years begging and borrowing resources until the program’s impact became clear.
3. Mavericks look for peers and fellow travelers outside the boundaries of their company. Not surprisingly, mavericks tend to click when they meet other mavericks. They’re great networkers and learners and are always looking for kindred spirits for support and ideas.
Brackets are mine.
I’m now off to buy the book! You can read more of the interview here.
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