James Vrac , May 25, 2012
I was puzzled by this article. I agree with the concepts the writer proposes about workplace honesty, authenticity, curiosity – the best parts of us and what these mean to our careers and the people we lead. But the packaging – fly your freak flag? – seemed unsuitable at best.
It’s a bit facile to suggest that the route to workplace success is to encourage more individualism in your staff, encourage them to fly their own freak flags and display more of their characters.
There is a reason Nebraska nice is quite common among workplaces. It doesn’t take that much of us revealing more of our true selves in the workplace before suddenly your office is, instead of a pleasant place to work, a parade of freaks, or worse, a complete freak show (ahem). Some of you probably recall, with a shudder, places like that you’ve worked at in the past. We’re human – we just can’t help ourselves. But a good HR manual and an expected code of civil behaviour can help us get over ourselves.
The thrust of the article (IMHO) could perhaps interpreted as the old Quaker phrase of speaking truth to power, because in essence, as CEO/ED, that’s the kind of environment you want to create where you work and the leadership style you want to project in order to give confidence to those you lead. On this point, I have absolutely no disagreement.
You’re the boss – if it’s Nebraska nice where you work, you made it that way. If you don’t believe your workplace has authenticity, I assure, you can’t manufacture it on a whim as this article seems to suggest.
I think the packaging for the ideas is unfortunate and sat with me very poorly.
Caroline Fuchs , CAE , May 10, 2012
At a recent presentation I heard that we live in a business world that suppresses our voice. Joe's article speaks to finding your voice with its passion and confidence. Wonderful. I'd love to see a follow-up article on how to best add value and how workplaces can create cultures that reward the addition of "freak" or authentic value.
Al Hutchinson , May 08, 2012
Great article...must discuss with our leadership team! This article really provides me with new energy to create change!
Cynthia Blair , April 16, 2012
Great read I am passing it on. Thanks
Joan Eisenstodt , April 13, 2012
Maybe it was my day yesterday: I needed this.
How are associations managing those who you call "freaks"? Why are freaks' questions still shunned?
Kimberly Pontius , CAE , April 13, 2012
I'm at what I call an age of reflection. Most of my life is behind me and considering what's left ahead of me makes me ask the question "How do I return to what it was I intended to be."
As a Baby Boomer I ended up way different than what I thought I would. I'm sure most others in my generation feel the same. Sometimes I wonder what happened to what I'll call the Woodstock Generation.
I wonder where the mellowness, kindness and caring went? How did we get so obsessed with being so middle class? When did we get so bitter and angry and at what point will I and others like me get back to those things we used to care about? Things like the planet, the children and those less fortunate in life than myself.
I'm going home tonight to search through the footlocker of my life and try to find my freak flag.
Thanks for the push.
Cynthia Rosso , April 13, 2012
I gave this article a 5 because it mirrors what I've always thought and the way that I have tried to lead, given the opportunity. An environment that is safe, open, respectful, and joyful is one that fosters creative thought and innovation, just what too many organizations lack. It has to be okay to try new things, freely share ideas, and let people "fly," as the author says. Right on. Thanks for the great piece.
Pat Knapp , April 13, 2012
I loved this article! So many of us are leaving bits and pieces of ourselves behind when we go to work. Too much reliance on ROI and the bottom line makes for a pervasive aura of collective risk aversion. The result? Why should anybody give a damn? They are not invested, emotionally or otherwise.
Hooray for an excellent piece.
Tara Robinson , April 13, 2012
What a terrific piece! I agree wholeheartedly.
Tara Rodden Robinson