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August 19, 2004

News & Opinion: The More Weirdos There Are, The Fewer There Are

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 7:35 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

In the Age of the Organization Man (50s-60s), the organization took primary responsibility for workers futures. They were highly paternalistic cultures. Keep your nose clean, and well take care of you. In the Age of Diversity (70s-80s) organizations were forced to open their doors to protected classes, but did not assimilate them into the culture. In the Age of the New Economy (90s), workers gained a new control of their own destinies because of the supply/demand for talent.
For the organization AND the individual to capitalize on the Age of the Individual (today and tomorrow) it is incumbent upon both the organization and the individual to take responsibility for tapping their natural weirdness. A high-performing weirdo of worth has found the unique intersection of his/her interests (that which s/he loves), his/her abilities (that which s/he does better than most) and the market (that for which there is a demand) or his/her AIM.
And when that happens, the organization owes it to such rare breeds to accommodate and to celebrate them. And anything the organization can do to facilitate that discovery is a win-win until we have attained Principle #4:
THE MORE WEIRDOS THERE ARE, THE FEWER THERE ARE
Ultimately in the Age of the Individual, and in a high-performing meritocracy, the concept of weirdos in the workplace becomes relative. In other words, when weirdness becomes the norm, it is no longer perceived as weird. So, the more weirdos you hire, the fewer you have. It may sound rather utopian, but it is the right direction in which to AIM if you and your organization wish to thrive in The Age of the Individual. Now go Get Weird!

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.