Rebel Resolve

What New Year's Resolution are you making? Lose weight? Exercise more? Learn a foreign language? Save more money? Change jobs? How about:

Become a Brave, Big-Hearted, and Effective Rebel at Work!

2015 was a difficult year in many ways, particularly for institutions. Greek debt crisis, European refugees, mass shootings, police-community relations, and of course terrorism—all of these and many more proved challenging to institutions responsible for dealing with them. Precious few solutions emerged. It's clear the world needs an infusion of new ideas.

Rebels! Tag you're it.

The world needs us.

But there's one small complication. Most organizations don't recognize they need new ideas. Oh sure, their leaders say the right things. They convene an innovation challenge. Or organize a hackathon. But somehow most of the ideas don't rise above the drawing board and/or make an impact on how things have always been done.

And of course let's not just pick on the leaders and managers. Our colleagues on the shop floor or in the cubicle farm don't always welcome the rebel's attempts to contribute. They suspect the rebel is just trying to advance her career at their expense. Or they just can't imagine how things could be done differently.

And one way or another, the rebel's new ideas are sabotaged.

Just the other day I came across a manual on how to sabotage, among many things, organizations. It was prepared by the OSS, the predecessor office of the Central Intelligence Agency, of which I know a thing or two. The Simple Sabotage Field Manual was written to advise resistance and opposition members operating behind enemy lines. In addition to ideas for ruining cars and downing electricity lines, the manual suggests some simple things individuals could do to make any organization less effective.

  • Insist on doing everything through channels.
  • Make speeches. Talk as frequently as possible and at great length.
  • Refer all matters to committees for further study and consideration.
  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  • Haggle over precise wordings of communications, meetings, resolutions.

Rebels at Work is a different kind of manual, a handbook designed to help rebels help their organizations become more effective. So when you make that New Year's Resolution to step up to all the challenges looming in 2016, to be an advocate of positive change, don't forget your manual. And if you hadn't heard, we just released a learning video overflowing with practical advice to help you succeed in at least one New Year's resolution. In Be a Brave, Big-Hearted Rebel at Work, Lois and I talk to some of the leading thinkers and doers of organizational change and innovation. Check out a free preview here.

Happy New Organization!