Organizational Mavericks Part II

imagesThis is a follow-up to the first post on mavericks. Read it HERE.

Henry Ford said, “I’m looking for a lot of men with an infinite capacity for not knowing what can’t be done.”

We’re talking about mavericks within your organization, and Hans Finzel writes about this in his book, “The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make” (©2007 David C. Cook).

We talked about how important it is for organizations to have mavericks because it keeps us thinking, it keeps us inventing and it keeps us moving forward. Many people are threatened by mavericks because they don’t fit in the box, they are always trying to do things differently. Managing mavericks takes work and it might take additional time, but it will always pay off.

Finzel shares 5 ways to encourage true mavericks:

– Give them a long tether – they need space to soar

– Put them in charge of something they can really own

– Listen to their ideas and give them time to grow

– Let them work on their own if they wish

– Leave the alone and give them time to blossom

He also shares ways to stifle the mavericks in your organization:

– Create as many layers of management as possible for decision-making

– Keep looking over their shoulders

– Make your policy manual as thick as possible

– Send everything to committees for deliberation

– Make them wait


Lastly, Finzel shares “The Ten Commandments of Organizational Paralysis” or “How To Put Mavericks In Their Place”:

1) “That’s impossible”

2) “We don’t do it that way.”

3) “We tried something like that before and it didn’t work.”

4) “I wish it were that easy.”

5) “It’s against policy to do it that way.”

6) “When you’ve been around a little longer, you’ll understand.”

7) “Who gave you permission to change the rules?”

8) “How dare you suggest that what we are doing is wrong!”

9) “If you had been in this field as long as I have, you would understand that what you are suggesting is absolutely absurd!”

10) That’s too radical a change for us.”


As leaders, we say these things so much!  Sometimes we’re happy with where things are at, and we feel threatened when others ask tough questions.  We need to learn to discern the heart of a maverick and the heart of a discontent.  Sometimes people who just don’t want to do their job or don’t trust the leadership bring up these same issues.  There’s a difference: A maverick wants what’s best for the organization and they’re not happy until the organization benefits and reaches their goals.  A discontent wants what’s best for them and they’re not happy until they get their own way.  There’s a big difference!

We need more mavericks in our organizations, people willing to stir things up, driving us to greater impact, effectiveness and purpose.


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