Andrew Laird’s blog talks about the need for leaders in public services to be prepared to risk operating outside the confines of recognised norms – in other words, leaders who refuse to play by the rules.
I think I always had these maverick tendencies. I remember in 1990 as a new graduate arriving to take up my post in international relations for a local authority. I questioned the need to write “PINK” across the top of copies of letters which apparently was meant to indicate which of the copies was “the pink one”. This harked back to the old days of carbon copies which were already obsolete at that time but the practice remained without being questioned. The very fact that I questioned the sanity of this marked me out as rather dangerous and it was to go downhill from there on….
In the article, Laird states that that Mavericks are needed in public services to find “new ways to solve the problems of their service users”. I do feel he is missing an important point that a source of ready-made Maverickism may be those very “service users” themselves. In the NHS, for example, I often find I have as a “patient” working on an outsider/inside basis more power to point out the elephant in the room and a good right to claim ignorance of “how we do things around here”.
So rather than see us merely as collections of problems to be solved, why not see as potential allies. We may just have more power than you think we have.