For Winston Churchill it was crystal clear that without courage all other virtues would become meaningless. It is not only in society and politics that we need courage more urgently today than we have in a long time; more would also benefit our companies and their employees. We need courage to make traditional organizations fit for the future. The current absolutist-hierarchical building principle has finally served its purpose. In the age of digitalization and knowledge work, our companies require a new enlightenment with a more consistent separation of powers. Immanuel Kant’s motto for the Enlightenment should therefore stand above every gate: “Dare to know! Have the courage to use your own intelligence!”
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.
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.
The pressure for change is growing in the enterprises. Organizational ambidexterity is in high demand: exploiting the established while exploring the unknown. But how does the new come into the company? And how is it then received there? The usual tayloristic hierarchical structure and way of working is focused on the efficient exploitation of existing business models and products. The truly new, which is not only an incremental improvement of what already exists, and which therefore potentially carries the seeds for the success of tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, unfortunately does not thrive in such a context very well: Neither the new business model or product, which appears insignificant in comparison to the cash-cows, nor innovative ways of organization, leadership and cooperation, which always appear disturbing at first.