Be a Nonprofit Misfit and Lead Your Organization to Success

In a recent blog post for the Harvard Business Review, author Umair Haque asks “What Kind of Misfit Are You?” He identifies many different successful people as being misfits, like Steve Jobs Jay-Z, and JK Rowling. All go against what is generally expected of an average person. And all are incredibly successful. Haque doesn’t guarantee that being a misfit is going to directly lead to becoming a multi-millionaire that changes some portion of the world – in fact he concedes that some of history’s greatest villains are misfits, too. He does say, though, that the only way to do something truly awesome, is to be a misfit. Why? Because if you are always straight-edged and fitting in with the crowd, no one will notice you. You won’t express any of your ideas for change. You will not help anything improve. And this may be alright for you.

Many jobs are set up to embrace those that never break the rules or challenge the conventional thinking.In today’s world though, those jobs are rapidly going away, because everything changes so fast. Back in the day, w person could have had a successful career on an assembly line, working 40 hours a week, collecting an honest salary, and living a stable life without possessing any unsual initiative or talent. Unfortunately, those days are gone.For nonprofits, the misfit necessity is even greater. Nonprofits need to constantly prove that their services are so effective, you should donate your money to them to keep them in business. Nonprofits have to be misfits, and their workers do too. If they don’t challenge conventional thinking, their programs will stay the same while the needs of their clients change. They won’t be able to convince funders that they have the next great plan to improve their section of the nonprofit world – because they aren’t coming up with new plans.

As Haque writes,

“Call me crazy, ready the straitjacket, send in the orderlies, but my suggestion is: it’s time to build institutions which don’t just grudgingly, hesitatingly, make room for our individuality every eye-rollingly unfun casual Friday — but which embrace, demand, hunger, and yearn for deviance from the yawn-inducing norm with an obsession that borders on the legally insane. We need those free thinkers. In fact, in a world where perma-crisis seems to be the status quo, by which our so called leaders seem paralyzed and hopelessly confused, we’ve never needed the misfits more.”

So how are you a misfit? How is your nonprofit a misfit? What types of new ideas get brought up in meetings? Does the leadership at the organization support these ideas, even if they might go against some of their own opinions?

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1 comment

  1. тайланд визы украина says:

    Simple but interesting blog post I must say. I’ve just added your RSS to my google reader! =)

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