Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Exercising Insubordination Is Risky. I Say, "So What?"

"Often, people with access to the facts use them to amplify the fear in those around them. Facts speak loudly, numbers louder still. If you want to slow things down or average things out, facts are your best friend."

-- Seth Godin

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

-- Albert Einstein

"Subordination is overrated. They hardly have a word for it.
Insubordination is the place to be."

-- Seth Godin

I was reading these quotes recently and at different times and somehow they all went together for me and spoke of past lives, of past employment, of risking it all to be insubordinate.

Of all the things I am, I suppose insubordinate is one of them, and I have it for a number of reasons. One is that is destroys boredom, that illness that is most treacherous. Second, I have to ask the question, "how else do you move forward?" Third, I want my participation to make a decided difference. I come to move the ball not rake the sand.

So, I was looking back on various employment positions and looking particularly at the insubordination aspect of them--my insubordination, at least. It seems that in one way or another, or seven or eight more, I have been guilty of insubordination at each and every one. Yes, insubordinate, yet respectfully so. I get frustrated very easily at the status quo and love to ask, "why not?" a lot. I detest hearing, "no," or "we don't do it that way," or "we have to go through channels," or other such stalling tactics.

Some ideas I've promoted get killed the moment they are out and aren't even given the light of day, but that doesn't mean they aren't worthy or that they wouldn't make a big difference. I'm thinking of one from the car business right now that would have made a big difference, I'm certain of it. Dealerships who have a long term sales staff would benefit the most, others less so, but still a sizable change upward in sales productivity. Then, I hear the but. . . and after a period, I let it go and move on. No guts, no glory! This is where the quote from Albert Einstein comes to play in that education stands in the way of learning! They've always done it that way and so that's just the way it's gonna be. Know what I mean? Sometimes it is just so hard to try something new and different. I say, the hell with tradition! I say, the hell with the way everyone else does it! I say, so what? Do it anyway! It could make a difference!

Of course, it is not the car business, it's every business in one way or another. All you insubordinates out there--how many times have you heard about the facts and the numbers and such as Seth Godin so aptly states. The way to slow it all down is paying close attention to the facts. And, Einstein said, "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Indeed. So, we insubordinates swim a couple or three or four strokes upstream, and then we let go and float for a while to rest up and recuperate. We flirt with the danger zone: getting canned. Hell, I've flirted with that for over 45 years. Never did scare me much. If it did, I couldn't be much good as an insubordinate.

So, many of us insubordinates end up here in business for ourselves. It's not nearly as much fun as a good swim upstream now and then, but it is much more satisfying in that I can act on my own ideas perfectly. They don't know what they're missing! 

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