I finished reading a great book; in fact it’s slowly becoming my bible: “Exploiting Chaos | 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change.” by Jeremy Gutsche.
When I first cracked the book open, thumbing randomly into one of the interior pages, the heading at the top said “Piss People Off,” and I instantly knew this book was for me. I feel as though I could have written this book, except I’m not that ambitious (in terms of writing a book). While I did read the book cover to cover, I still find myself randomly opening to a page (sort of a chaotic thing to do, now that I consider it) and re-absorbing the bits of wisdom.
Today I landed on the page “Hire Freaks” and was reminded of one of my early experiences as a speaker at a networking group. I was the guest of one of my sales people and was expected to stand and tell people what I do… blah blah blah. As usual, I was completely unprepared and fell back on my ability to improvise. I stood up and said…”I hire crazy people.” Everyone laughed and I instantly had everyone’s attention. But, I was quite serious and explained that I wanted to be surrounded by the kind of people that would go on a game show or better yet, Survivor. I want to be with people who question conventions and dare to color outside the lines.
It’s the ‘freaks’ who came up with all the cool stuff in our world (DaVinci, Edison, Jobs, Gates, Zuckerman, Wales, etc.). My philosophy is to hire crazy people who bring forth an abundance of ideas. Many crazy ideas don’t end up working. Sometimes I am pretty confident ahead of time, but I try to keep my mouth closed and let the person continue to explore the idea until they come their own conclusion. After all, how do I ultimately know it’s not going to work? That way I don’t stifle the more important activity: the crazy yet innovative thought process.
During my first year as a Director of Sales and Marketing, I was speaking with some students from Sonoma State University and they relayed to me an idea they had for promoting a dodgeball tournament. They wanted to print the invitation on a real dodgeballs (hundreds of them) and throw them off the roof of the main quad area on campus during lunch. I was grinning ear to ear (secretly wishing that lawyers did not exist on this planet and that I could actually see this scheme put into action). I looked around the table and saw some crazy young minds. Minds that were untainted by rules and status quo. One of those students is now my top producing salesperson and yes… she is crazy.
To all the crazy people I work with and know: Thank you for enriching my life by keeping me sane with insanity.