This post (The CEO Solution) was originally posted on the homepage of my site way back in the early 2000s! The contents still rings true, so I'm reposting it here. #ThrowBackMaverick!

(I see that other people have agreed that the content is still relevant today, because they have copied a large proportion of 'The CEO Solution' exactly, leaving out the uncomfortable fact that I wrote it! Awkward!) See this post here to find out my feelings on that.

In any event I have updated the original post (The CEO solution) slightly, to encompass my new thinking. The information on a Maverick Personality and Maverick traits and tendency, was absorbed into my page on 'an accurate maverick definition' some time ago.  You can see more about how mavericks are defined here.

Why think like a Maverick CEO?

Maverick CEOs and business owners do see things differently from Conformist CEOs and business owners. This different viewpoint can be a hindrance or a blessing. The important factor is being able to know which traits you should follow and which to leave behind.

First of all, however, you may be wondering what a Maverick is? I've been describing Mavericks as wilfully independent people since 2005. Here is a handy video summary.


The CEO Solution

Maverick CEOs or business owners do things in a way that is different to the rest of their industry, they take risks that other CEOs shirk at, and push harder and seek challenges that others feel are 'insane'.

They are generally successful at what they do but their impatience and impulsiveness often keep them off track. When Mavericks reach a level of success they often get bored seek challenges elsewhere until their business suffers. It is at that point that they return to their business to rescue it.

Maverick CEOs and business owners are often:

  • easily distracted with working in their business and not IN it
  • are without a trusted advisor
  • are busy not focused
  • are impatient and impulsive
  • are offhand and brutally honest, inappropriately

It is by enabling CEOs and business owners to take this wilful independence to its most positive outcomes that can make a strategic and substantial difference to the profitability of a company and the success of the individual. True maverick organisations like Semco and Apple (when Steve Jobs was in charge), and individuals like John F Kennedy and Elon Musk can make a lasting difference. This is mainly because they strived to achieve a level of mastery that was beyond their peers.

Mavericks are truly talented individuals and are able to drag the world forward with their insights and abilities.

These gifted individuals are often struggling to get the best out of their talent, frequently not fitting into a world of constraints and conformity. When Mavericks are not being recognised for their expertise this can lead to frustration and a cycle of dissatisfaction. This may manifest itself in destructive behaviour or talent opt out. Talent opt out is when an individual deliberately decides to withdraw their extraordinary skills and do the bare minimum to get by.

Whilst a Maverick's bare minimum is often the same standard as other people's best, the organisation nevertheless losses the ability to perform to a greater standard.

Eventually the Maverick either opts out in a passive (Socialised Maverick, Maverick Behaviourist) or destructive (Extreme Maverick) way, or leaves the organisation deciding to try their luck elsewhere or set up their own business.

It is often at this point that the Maverick becomes an entrepreneur where their ability to harness their maverickism determines their ability to survive in business.

All Mavericks are emergent, strategic thinkers who consider the big picture whilst capturing the detail. They do not just consider the symptoms of the problem, they look for the root causes. They look at all the elements rather than maintaining a narrow focus.

It is important to note, however, that Extreme Maverick have a severe handicap that doesn't hamper Socialised Mavericks.

Socialised Mavericks are able to maintain their analytical objectivity in the face of extreme emotion.

Extreme Mavericks can not.

CEOs that run companies that harness and demonstrate maverickism remain profitable and ahead of their competition. They have a challenged and challenging workforce who are working to improve their performance and enjoy their time doing so.

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