My friend, Ed Brenegar has been blogging about Polly Labarre and Bill Taylor’s book, Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. He’s got good posts here, here, here, here, here, here and here. As usual, Ed is ahead of the curve but he generously points out Guy Kawasaki’s blog post from today on the Labarre/Taylor book. Ed quotes Guy’s last question and the Labarre response. I requote it here:
Question: What did you learn by writing the book that surprised you the most?
Answer: I was struck by how unfailingly generous these mavericks were-and by how creative they were in their generosity. One of the big lessons of the book is that generosity begets prosperity. Mavericks are fierce competitors, and they’re always measuring how they’re doing. But they’re also remarkably generous, and they’re always asking how they’re helping. They don’t believe that for them to win, others have to lose. They do believe that spirit of generosity more often than not yields great rewards in terms of connections, opportunities, and of course, personal fulfillment.
In short, the leader who figures out a way for everybody to win is the leader who wins. The leader with a zero-sum mentality gets zero.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you may remember the Generous Web meme being discussed. I’ve sited people like Ed, Doc Searls, Kathy Sierra and others as prime practitioners of the art of the Generous Web. It’s this spirit of generosity that keeps me and (in some cases) thousands of others coming back to read them. The free sharing of important ideas, thoughts and concerns – with a real desire to inspire change. And they are succeeding in that inspiration. They are Web Mavericks at Work.
Kawasaki asks Labarre about the difference between Mavericks and Jerks. (I can see a couple of people reading the title and skim reading the book thinking it describes them. It doesn’t.) Labarre’s response,
Mavericks are so different, so edgy, and so independent of spirit that their personal style or message may not appeal to everyone. But that’s precisely the point: mavericks are defined by the power and originality of their ideas. They stand out from the crowd because they stand for something truly unique. What’s more, they take stands-against the status quo, in defiance of the industry elite-and offer compelling alternatives to business as usual.
Don’t confuse mavericks’ unswerving commitment to a cause and their lack of patience for the status quo with the egotism, monomania, and power mongering modeled by too many celebrity CEOs and moguls. Mavericks, in fact, have a sense of humility.