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Stumbled across this in my Twitter feed last night and thought it would give us some good discussion points.

I very much like the idea of challenging and two of my favourite quotes sayings are

If you always do what we've always done - we'll always get what we've always got

Ask for forgiveness and not permission

Of course it makes sense to challenge the status quo but is this different to being a rebel?

Take a read of this post here How Rebellious Leadership Leads to Success

There are a lot of things in here I agree with and the examples that are used such a Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs are two iconic leaders that have made massive changes to society & attitudes and how we 'think differently'.

But what about in the 'real world' is having a rebellious streak a good thing, what if everyone was a rebel and all rules were broken. Would this lead to anarchy and commercial chaos.

Does your organisation culture encourage challenge or do people follow the rules as they are there for a reason?

I do believe that in order for us to progress, change and evolve we must always be prepared to challenge what has been before but it must be measured. We can't have a load of mavericks running around disrupting things so how can this be encouraged but done with minimum risk to business and people. Some business decisions could be classed as rebellious and challenging but have ultimately led to the downfall of organisations. 

More questions here than answers but I'd be interested in your thoughts on the subject.

Do Rebellious Leaders Lead to Success?

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  • I agree with a commentator under the original post 'Purposeful rebellion is key'. I think that if the end goal/aim is to rebel against the norm to create something new, different, exciting, forward thinking etc then I am all for it and I think it should be encouraged and nurtured. Timing  of the idea is also key however - take mini discs, they were a really good idea (especially in my previous life as a dance teacher as it meant editing music was so much easier), however the timing of the product wasn't right and it became obsolete pretty quickly. 

    However if there is 'rebellious' leadership which is due to a power trip - and by that I mean rebellious against the rules just because they can (or they feel they can), then this situation would need to be looked at, especially if the result was a very unhappy team/colleagues.

    There are also areas where following the rules is paramount e.g. food laws within commercial kitchens. These are in place to ensure that food does not become contaminated. Being a rebel in this situation would not be advisable and could have serious consequences. 

    So I believe, that with the right end goal, rebellious leadership / challenging ideas should be encouraged. 

    • There is always the risk of any ideas becoming obsolete very quickly especially anything related to technology. When Apple created the iPod they revolutionised digital music so whilst the mini-disk was great ( I have a fair collection myself) it became almost useless over night compared with the '1000 songs in your pocket' which in essence is what Apple used to market and promote their iPods. It was quick, easy and intuitive and this is what consumers want. Apple are disruptive and their whole moto of 'Think Differently' is aligned to this idea of rebellion in terms of 'why do we do it like this' - 'why can't we do it like this instead' - challenging the status quo and innovating to create new products that in turn shift what customers want and then need as it becomes part of daily life. Think of how consumer trends have affected Kodak, HMV and Blockbuster. Apple themselves employ a whole team to 'destroy' i-tunes so they stay one step ahead of what could be coming, what is going to be the next disruption etc.

      It's fostering this innovation in an effective way that's key, there has to be leadership that encourages this (like Steve Jobs or Richard Branson or Bill Gates) but not everyone is a genius and we have to work with what we've got. Culture is key and of course relationships need to be open to challenge which is easier said than done. That said EVERY organisation needs to constantly evolve and innovate to stay current, relevant and keep up with their competitors, this might be internal agility and managing change or product development. Without challenge and a little bit of rebellious thinking nothing we change so I agree Emily - set your goals and outline your vision. Provide a space and encourage ideas to flourish and let people be the best they can be within the constraints of the industry, regulations and law you work. Be brave.

      If you don't then you'll end up with the below - which is no use to anyone.


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