Interest, Innovation, Impact: the difference between great or mediocre




W. Michael Phibbs

On a wall in the lunch room is a sign, “Wanted: Mavericks and Heretics to join Sector 212. Together, we all make a difference.” It is in the lunch room for a simple reason; everyone goes there sometime during the day. At first the sign was kind of a joke; people would ask do you really you want Maverick’s to buck the system or Heretic’s to challenge your authority?

“Yep” was the answer. Eventually, people started to knock at the door and say, “I have an idea.”

The usual reply was, “try it and let me know what happens.” When people begin to feel they can make a difference in an organization change really begins.

Caley Cantrell, Professor at the VCU Brandcenter, was quoted in the blog:, for making a statement about branding which is actually intuitive for building an energized workforce. She said, “What is of interest in this problem? What is interesting about how people live their lives? Can you create a conversation between a brand and a person by revealing a common interest?” Better yet, does your agency, division, team, or group create a story which compels people to want to come to your building each day? When people believe in what they are doing then work ceases to be a job and becomes a pleasure.

Someone once told me in his industry there was no room anymore for creation and innovation. His company has long since gone under, but his competition thrived. There is always room for innovation! Companies start, they grow, morph, and change through new innovations. Every moment something is being innovated. Every teammate or tribe member has innovative ideas to help your organization grow. Notice, I wrote tribe or team member instead of employee. Employees work for you. Tribe members or team members work with you. Unlock the talent. Not by giving speeches, but going back to the lunchroom to hang out and talk to people. Intentionally “Bump into people.” Ask people their names and get to know them. Build trust and allow people to come forward with ideas; implement the good ones and acknowledge the bad ones. Heck, even if it is bad give the person a Starbucks rewards card for bringing the idea to your attention. Ideas lead to innovation which leads to impact.

Every person on the earth wants to have an impact. Many struggle with the idea. Fear holds most of us back. Bring forth your ideas! What is the worst that can happen? In a bad company, you may get criticized for a bad idea, or criticized by others for a great idea that they did not think of, or were too afraid to tell anyone. Compare the feeling of fear for being criticized with the feeling of making an impact. The journey to make an impact is arduous. It requires you to face your fear and take a leap of faith. Faith in oneself and that your ideas have worth. Mavericks and Heretics are interesting because they are not afraid to innovate and demand to make an impact.

Your organization can become great and leave the mediocrity of others by recruiting people who challenge the status que. Require your HR department to look for the ones who take you out of your comfort zone. Shake off the cobwebs. Brand your company as interesting and innovative which inspires people to exceed all expectations. Don’t just stay in the game, lead the game. Find the people who will pull or push your organization. Put the signs on the door, “Looking for Mavericks and Heretics….”

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