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Structure success with ‘Risk Takers' and ‘Mavericks’
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Dr. Rick Johnson, founder of CEO Strategist.
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Dr. Rick Johnson, founder of CEO Strategist.

Creating the right attitude is paramount to structuring an environment of success. Getting your employees to work with you and join in the search for better ideas, new methodology and higher profitability will transform your company from passive individualists to intelligent action takers and change agents.

You need “Risk Takers.” You need “Mavericks.” Mavericks and Risk Takers are a special group of people who have a creative personality and know how to generate new ideas; these people don’t require training to learn how to apply their unique concepts to business.

Identify every employee in that category and empower him or her to go out and get the job done. Mavericks and Risk Takers are people who are compelled to perform with their own way of doing things. Mavericks are innovators, like all creative people, and they see things differently. So what if they bend the rules sometimes. As long as they don’t break the law, violate corporate core values or embarrass the company, “Turn Them Loose.” You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. The employees will see this as a demonstration of trust and empowerment. Word will travel fast.

Promote the Maverick Concept Promote the Maverick concept. Send a monthly memo to everyone praising individuality that result in improvements. Title your memo, “OFF the CUFF” for its informal straight talking honest feedback from the top. Reward and recognize the risk takers. Commend the change agents. Then align both management and the employees behind the new vision. Support this new environment by sharing the new vision, departmental goals and strategic initiatives. Publish the minutes of every executive meeting that is held. Hold nothing back short of personal issues. Be proud and announce the fact that there will no longer be secrets held under close cover behind the doors of the executive staff.


Educate your managers and supervisors for their new role in this new environment. Do not tolerate deception or deviation from attitude or your new structure. Teach them to be coaches, mentors and transmitters of directions. Educate line employees to make them know they are part of the plan, part of the new way. Teach them new skills for self-management, planning, team building, goal setting, risk taking, conflict resolution and negotiating. Show them you care. That’s all part of structuring an environment.

Create a mental picture of what the company is all about; where you want to go and how you are going to get there. This is the vision for the company. It does not reflect the personal idiosyncrasy of the CEO. It has a broad base of support and buy-in from the employees.

Micro Management Demotivates Mavericks and Risk Takers

The easiest way to suppress discretionary energy, the energy given willingly – no matter what it takes, is a style of micromanagement that scrutinizes every decision an employee makes. It can kill their spirit. It destroys trust. If any of your employees even joke about you being a micro manager - back off. Where there is smoke there is usually fire. Micro managing may make you feel in control but in reality you are only hurting yourself and the company. It only limits an employee’s ability to be innovative and creative. This can cost the company thousands of dollars because it is the creativity and innovation of your employees that maximize the profitability of your company.

Micro Management is a Symptom

Micro Management is often just a symptom of ineffective planning, too much compassion and the inability to judge performance and develop bench strength. Developing a strategic plan for your company is a very effective way to address any or all of these challenges. I often tell my clients that the most valuable part of a strategic plan is the development process itself. Running a company with a shoot from the hip mentality often encourages micro management and does not allow employees to develop their skills and maximize their potential. One of the many warning signs is a high turnover rate. The reason is simple; good employees just won’t tolerate micro management and they will leave to find employment that will challenge them and help them grow. E-mail for ten tips to avoid micro management.

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