I received a framed version of this quote back in my IBM days, as an acknowledgement of the work we were doing with leaders at IBM, bringing in more of a coaching culture.

And it resonated deeply with me. And helped me to see things differently… Because, well, at least I knew that I wasn’t alone in feeling like a square peg in a round hole! It gave me HOPE that maybe, just maybe, I could be a game changer or even a world changer! And so I continued to work passionately for what mattered to me at the time: on nurturing the health of my family (due to a health crisis at home) and at IBM by helping to leaders to extend their leadership styles to include coaching and “bigger game” thinking in order to create high performance teams that respected individual strengths and values.

As I continued to evolve in my own leadership journey, I was inspired by my kids to make sure I did my best to make the world a good place for future generations – I often found myself in the role of the “crazy one”, or the “positive deviant”, and I learned much about operating as an internal change agent, and the enablers and barriers of change. You might find more hope and inspiration here in this article from HBR about the role of positive deviance and unlikely innovators.
Today, I am inspired to see pioneers in every industry working hard to make positive change happen in different ways:
  • by making sustainability real – with meaningful action
  • by working to get healthy food into school cafeterias
  • by working on healthcare and insurance reform
  • by piloting new innovative alternative or integrated healthcare approaches
  • by building better buildings, transportation systems, manufacturing processes that consume less and produce less waste
  • etc… the list is endless and inspiring…
Society is a living organism, and has a need for all of us square pegs or “positive deviants”. My current work is in bringing new solutions and methods to “the crazy ones” – the pioneering leaders that are committed to making the world (or some part of it!) better. And it is about working smarter – and leading in new ways. Instead of individual herculean efforts, leaders of change must leading collectively – leveraging the unique strengths of others who are aligned with their vision – to make change happen faster.
Which way is up? Seeing things differently and a view worth saving…
While so much of the world is focused on “the internet of things” and innovating with technology, my focus is on the human systems (you and me and our organizations and networks). And if you are one of the “crazy ones”, know that you are not alone and there are solutions that can greatly accelerate your success! Solutions and methods like The Bigger Game and Collective Leadership – which I use with organizational leaders who are looking at amplifying their impact in their company, their industry, and their value chain.
I don’t work alone (it’s hard being crazy alone – and I’ve found out it’s not really an effective way to bring about change!). I have been inspired to work with others, including the late Laura Whitworth, and the very alive Rick Tamlyn who co-created the Bigger Game model and have inspired a network of Bigger Game leaders and coaches. I have also been privileged to work closely with co-founders of PresenceAtWork, Jane Weber and Roelien Bokxem – they are pioneers in bringing a new kind of leadership development into the world – and I am working with these concepts here in the US.

What about you? Who are your most important allies? Have you looked in your toolbox lately? What can you share here – insights for others transformational leaders? Let’s not “go it alone” – there’s way too much good work to be done!