A rebel in your team? Congratulations!

Rebels are a pain in the ass. They keep asking questions, come up with crazy ideas and never go along with the rest. But are they really such troublemakers? Or do they simply have a different view of the world, a good dose of creativity and the courage to go against the grain?

Unconventional and absurd, or groundbreaking?

Organisations completely misunderstand the power of rebellious people; they often only see the trouble and not the possibilities. When an IKEA employee bought a table in their early years and wanted to take it home, he bumped into a problem. It didn’t fit in his car. He looked around in the parking lot and saw that everyone experienced the same. And so he came up with the idea of cutting the legs from under the table. An absurd idea at first glance, right?

The majority of managers would probably turn away from this completely. But a manager at IKEA saw the potential in this insane idea and went for it. They developed the assemble-at-home idea and It turned out to be one of IKEA’s most groundbreaking concepts.

But things can also take another turn. For years, Eric Yuan, a software developer at Webex, told his management that many customers complained about the platform’s poor usability. He also shared ideas on how to improve it. But his management didn’t want to listen to him. He became disillusioned and no longer enjoyed his work. So, he decided to build it himself. He quit his job, set up Zoom and more than 40 talented Webex colleagues decided to join him on the adventure.

Breakthrough concepts often start with a crazy or even absurd idea from employees, usually because they encounter a problem in their working environment. They are surprised about it and simply want to solve it. However, often these ideas are dismissed because they are just too unconventional or misunderstood.

Cherish the rebels in your organisation

Rebels are intrinsically motivated to make things better and the status quo makes them uncomfortable. This makes them excellent ambassadors for change and innovation; the possibilities for rebels in organisations are endless. They are fantastic friction hunters, they love solving problems – the more complex, the better – and their highly developed moral compass can help the organisation to make better decisions.

But they only really thrive if you create an environment where they can be completely themselves, regardless of their quirks. Where they can openly share all their ideas without being encountered with loads of opposition.

We live in a time where change has never been this fast and at the same time will never be this slow. We need people who can adapt quickly, come up with creative solutions and get the ball rolling.

‘It’s not rebels that make trouble, but trouble that makes rebels’. So, it’s about time we see the power of rebels!

This article was originally published in Dutch on the platform DeSpreker.nl, the best agency for booking speakers in the Netherlands.

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