One particular quote really resonated with me:
“When this country has made strides and moved ahead – it’s the “Weirdos” that blazed the way for others to follow… What you do to accept the “Weirdos” in your community, whether young or old, will help construct the flavor and individuality of your community.”
He was talking about education and nurturing kids who work, think and behave differently – but, of course, the same applies to our workplace diversity. Because it’s the Weirdos who tend to do the exceptional things.
We spend heaps of time talking about secret sauce here at Weirdly HQ.
Not the kind you find in a Big Mac, (we all know that’s just mayo and pickle juice anyway). Nope, we’re talking about the special ingredients that make people champions.
Sometimes it’s a particular interest that gives their skill-set an extra dimension, a background that gives them a unique perspective on the world, or a crazy knack for relating to people. Sometimes it’s just an unusual way of thinking or processing information.
These are often intangibles: things that are hard to define. Sometimes during a traditional recruitment process these are the things that are overlooked in the rush to tick skills and education boxes.
But they’re the things that turn candidates into truly wonderful Weirdos. People who – if given the chance – can transform teams, inspire innovations and help your business shift into that extra gear.
We hear businesses talking a lot about building a culture of innovation, and encouraging creativity, which makes our digital heart swell right up with joy.
What we don’t hear as much is people talking about the unique qualities in their team members that lead to that culture of creativity. We’re celebrating the outcome, but not the cause: the ‘outsider’ thinking, the stuff that challenges the status quo and results in fresh, innovative ideas.
No, but seriously, why?
The truth is, we all need those people in our businesses. Sure, the level of “wild” might be different when comparing Weirdos in a law firm to the ones in a design lab. You might be looking for slightly different weirdnesses. But the idea that the best teams are made of diverse, multifaceted people who celebrate all their oddly-configured experience is universal.
Our work-places are tiny communities. By welcoming in Weirdos, we’re building a community with more colour, energy and wider perspectives. And if we encourage those guys to share and celebrate the things that make them weird, our colourful community becomes one that encourages curiosity and exploration.
That’s what Clay Forsberg was talking about in schools, and that’s what we can do in business – let’s celebrate our Weirdos and watch our businesses (and country) start making strides.