Twenty years ago, I listened to an interview with Peter Drucker, who had just written “Thriving on Chaos. In the interview, Drucker advanced the idea that companies needed to hire Crazy People to gain a competitive edge. It wasn’t good enough to hire people with interesting resumes, according to Drucker, your new employees had to be crazy. They needed to view the world differently, and from time to time make you uncomfortable.
I loved this concept and shared the idea with my boss, who was an engineer. A quiet, patient man, Frank listened carefully as I enthusiastically described an environment filled with interesting, crazy people. When I was done, he explained he did hire crazy people, at least one — ME!
Once I understood my role in the organization it was liberating. I attacked projects with enthusiasm and got things done. Ok, my methods were unconventional, but my clients were happy, my team was happy, and our performance numbers rose. Unfortunately, I never listened the the entire Drucker interview. And what I didn’t hear was the sad truth, organizations tire of the crazy people. Eventually they try to get them to fit in by cutting off their creative corners ( Thus the name Roundpeg) .
The result? The crazy people either conform and lose their creative edge or they leave. After 20 years in corporate gigs, I looked around one day and wondered where all the crazy people went. But I don’t wonder any more. I have found them in the ranks of entrepreneurs and small business owners with whom I spend my days.
They are crazy! Want proof? Here just a few examples:
- It is crazy to think you can build an association, in a mature market, with no investment capital, and no local roots, yet today, Rainmakers has grown to 1,500 members, with 40 plus events a month, and expansion plans to neighboring states
- It is crazy to think you can build a tech center in a Midwestern city, thousands of miles from Silicon Valley – and yet, look at the results of insanity by Chris Baggot, Scott Jones, Scott Dorsey, and others
- It is crazy, to think we can beat the odds. 95% of small business fail within the first five years, so it is crazy to try, and crazier yet to believe you can beat the odds. Yet here I am, and I am not alone. My friends, Tony (Rainmakers), Ellen(Accent on Business) Jim, (EverEffect) Jon, (Tuitive) Eric, (Crew Property Improvement), Cindy and Mike (Hartman Inventory) and many others, are all still here. And we are crazy enough to believe we will be here when the dust settles after this latest economic dip, too!
So if you are crazy… embrace it and celebrate it, because CRAZY PEOPLE GET THINGS DONE!