In praise of unorthodoxy
I introduced someone the other day as one of the most unorthodox business people I know. He’s the personification of zigging when others zag. Secure in who he is and brave in decisions. Enough of a risk taker to step into new territories but with the practical common sense needed to turn those steps into leaps forward.
The ability to be deep down unique is an extraordinary talent. My belief is that every organisation, and every person, has that talent, even if it is latent. To unearth it and deploy it as your culture takes insight and vision.
Vision is the prize. Branson and Bezos competing to be first into space. Southgate’s team getting ever further along the path to victory. A haulage business entering the industry top 100. A compelling vision can power a whole team to herculean effort because the prize is worth the pain.
And here's the oddity: whilst your team will be driven by your vision, your creation of it will be driven by what you know about your team. By your insight to their motivation and their values.
Insight uncovers true values. The insight to know yourself, your people, your business. To dig deep, to question yourself, to forge your values in the heat of challenge. To move beyond the orthodox into the unique.
Because for your values to be effective, they must recognise the unique assets and attributes of your organisation and the team within it. Like brands, the more your values can be differentiated from those of their peers, the more powerful they are.
And it’s that unique combination of ambition and principles driven by self-knowledge that delivers a culture that transforms people, bonds teams and delivers the goods.