Thursday, August 24, 2006

Are you WEIRD enough to succeed?

You think I've lost it for sure this time? Telling you to be weird to succeed? Guess again. It's not me. I have to tone down my mentors, gurus, and advisors. They are far more "out there" than I could ever hope to be. I'm tame compared to, well, Tom Peters for example.

Is Tom Peters, the leading business management and marketing consultant, a radical? An extremist? Or just a forward leaning visionary? He knows this: to survive, all businesses must become more creative, experimental, and innovative.

All with one focus: lavish customer loyalty based on superior personal relationships.

The cutting edge is where all the chewing satisfaction occurs. The biggest appetite always eats first, and gets full the fastest.

Tom Peters, from Talent: develop it, sell it, be it (DK Publishing, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2005), pg. 155.

Here we encounter a plea for Abnormal Workers, those who are...well, unhappy, disgruntled, rebellious, anti-traditional.

Tom has a [WEIRD] Top 10 To Do List that consists of Sell Weird, Compete Weird, hire Weird, Buy Weird, Acquire Weird, Govern Weird, Measure Weird, Meet Weird, Think Weird, and Work Weird.

The goal is not weirdness per se, but astonishing products that revolutionize the way customer needs are ascertained and met.

"Sell weird," he says. "Cultivate customers whose weird demands will propel you into the Freaky Future of your industry."

"Hire weird. Fill your ranks with people who are too teed off to toe the line. In other words: hire angry."

"Meet weird. Schedule (today!) three lunch dates with people who strike you as strange...who embarrass you...who scare you."

Heavy medicine?

Not your typical business book advice?

Tom has barely begun. Or rather, I have barely begun to expose you to the wild and highly respected proclamations of this thought leader. Let's look at a few other inflammatory remarks by Peters, shall we?

"Encourage people to ignore and defy superiors as well as peers." (p. 152)

"Find some happy people and get them to fight." (p. 152)

"Distinct or Extinct! Truly distinct talent reveals itself through work. Through weird, wild projects that add incomparable value and effect profound transformation." (p. 48)

"To survive the White Collar Wipe-out, you need to be Very Damn Special at something of specific economic value." (p. 39)

"Your customer is buying not so much a widget as a Widget Provision and Support Experience." (p. 111)

"Ask yourself: Does my list of customers and prospects have a high enough Weird Quotient to provide me with a genuine bead on the (inevitably) Weird Future?" (p. 123)

"Thinking Weird is the only surefire strategy for continual personal renewal and radical organizational innovation." (p. 139)

Quit worrying about being misunderstood, underappreciated, misfit.

Odd is marketable. We all love weird movies, weird commercials, weird music, weird art, weird people, as long as they aren't stinky and perverse. We love what's imaginative, unusual, different, exotic.

We all shun the trite, overly familiar, same old thing.

Want to worry? Then worry about being Too Normal, for that characteristic lives in the same neighborhood as Mediocre, Fearful, Lazy, and Boring.


Humour and last laugh said...

true! but some of the tips if followed could cost you your job.

steven edward streight said...

I think the main thing is to shake up your world, explore, try new food and listen to new music, take a different route to work, read a new novel.

Step outside the box to think outside the box.

Smart companies will create an atmosphere of experiment, rewarding the daring and punishing the cowards.

steven edward streight said...

Weird not in the sense of stupid, bizarre, or repulsive.

Weird in the sense of devoted, inspired, bold, eccentric, passionate, innovative, beyond the norm, the average.

No company should want a crew of paranoid obedient robot zombies stalking the halls.

MarcusBrown said...

Weird is good. Weird fascinates and scares people... the old gaurd. Sometimes. I'm weird. But not geeky weird. Just weird for the industry I'm in. I'm bring ing weird to the table. I've made weird a central part of my job. Job has become a fundamental part of what we do. We shifted from normal to weird and it's slowly working. I'm the weirdmeister of our company... and my bosses just shake their hands and say "how the hell did you get THAT to work". The non-weird are in a place where they have to think how much longer they will be around here.

steven edward streight said...

Marcus: It's funny that you mention the non-weirds not being there long.

That's really weird, because my pregnant sister has started a company for non-weirds to be in. Well, not really a company, but kind of a social club. But it's not for social networking or dating, it's more a professional organization. But it's not very professional, it's more amateur in a mature manner.

Called Meaty Ochre Inc. I hear through the grapevine that she has found some great products. Well, I mean, great for her, but not for customers or anybody else. Great for her because she can make a lot of money from them.

Maybe your non-weirds could send in their resumes to her new company. Except that they don't have an address yet or a web site. But soon they will.

I'll keep you posted if you nag and annoy me enough about it.