Friday, April 22, 2005

Difference is good but you might lose your bike!

On Tom Peters blog today is an interesting question
Did you take a freak out to lunch today?
The point being made is that people who challenge your thinking are likely to make things happen in your organisation.
Nothing radical about that and it reminded me of a story so I posted this story on Tom Peters Blog in reponse .
I recall Dave a colleague manager I worked with in healthcare here in the UK 15 years ago who was a keen cyclist and proud owner of an expensive racing bike.

In his first week with us he chained his bike to a radiator in the corridor outside the office of the Chief Executive where we were all gathered for a meeting.

He came into the meeting in his track suit, trainers and sweat band and was carrying a 'Tesco' supermarket bag that contained his paperwork for the meeting.

The rest of us in our smart but boring corporate black suits and ties and immaculate brief cases looked on with interest as you can imagine.

He created quite an impression and stayed with us two years or so till he got fed up with 'stuffiness and rules' and not surprisingly he left.

In those two years however he changed things dramatically and made a real impression. Always challenging the status quo - he made work an intreresting palce to be. The staff generally loved his 'eccentricity' as they called it - to me it was simply 'pushing the edges.'

I liked Dave - sadly I lost track of him and I sometimes wonder where he is now - probably back packing at 60 years of age across Australia or simething similarly interesting whilst most of the 'black suits' are still 'enjoying' writing their boring reports and still towing the corporate line.

By the way ... the Chief Executive was not amused and got the hospital porter to cut the chain and remove the bike .... SAD DON'T YOU THINK?


Anonymous said...


Brian said...

Imagine if the CEO had invited him to lunch, instead of removing his bike? One can only wonder about the possibilities...and the missed opportunities!

Brian Ward

Trevor Gay said...

I agree Brian - in those days the CEO and his teaam was probably busy worrying more about ensuring all the boxes were ticked in the right places.

A bike parked in the corridor just didn't fit neatly into a tick box.

I would love to think - many years later in 2005 - that things might be different... but I actually don't believe thing have changed much.

Anonymous said...

I could have borrowed his bike to ride the 5 K. people that are slightly different seem to scare the traditional folk. I think it may be the mystery. Whatever the reason many talented people are shunned and allot of great ideas are lost in the process. I think it is interesting to note that Many of the great innovaters have been shunned for being different. maybe that is part of their brilliance. If being slightly weird is an indication of hidden brilliance, then that leaves hope for me.(hahaha)