Aristotle once said, “A good man is not always a good citizen.” Accordingly, a good employee is not always an obedient employee. Organizational rebels cause disturbance and thus keep their organizations alive. This post provides an overview of cultivated rebelliousness, from its origin in civil disobedience to the principles of organizational rebellion and the question of how to lead, challenge and coach such rebels.
In Japan, there is the art of Kintsugi. In this traditional repair method, broken ceramics are glued with a lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. Rather than concealing the fractures in the best possible way, they are then highlighted. The blemish is seen as an important part of the history of the object and it is precisely in this unique imperfection that the actual beauty is seen. This artistic repair work clearly shows the principle of Wabi-Sabi, which is aptly described by Buddhist author Taro Gold as “the wisdom and beauty of imperfection”.
Corporate rebels cause irritation and thereby keep organizations alive. They act according to clear principles for the benefit of their organization as what and how it should be ideally. To this end, they repeatedly question the status quo and thus ultimately perform civil disobedience in the organization.
Change needs disturbance. Every organization needs people who question the status quo. As jesters or corporate rebels, they cause constructive irritation and thus prevent dangerous stagnation. After the ten principles addressed to the corporate rebels themselves, the question now naturally arises of how to create an environment for constructive rebelliousness and how to lead, challenge and coach rebels.
Working Out Loud (WOL) is on everyone’s lips. Whether at Bosch, Daimler, ZF and last but not least at BMW, where I recently had the pleasure to meet John Stepper, the creator of the method and the author of the corresponding book. Everywhere there are enthusiastic employees who use Working Out Loud to create a cooperative learning culture in their companies, break up silos and push the often rigid corporate structures towards a highly networked agile organization. From the tender beginnings at the grass roots, a powerful movement quickly emerges, at least with approval and more and more often with the active support of top management.