Monday, October 01, 2007


A business professor at nearby UNC has written a book with an encouraging philosophy--one that gives me hope for the world's future.

The book by Daniel M. Cable, reviewed this weekend in my local News & Observer, is Change to Strange: Create a Great Organization by Building a Strange Workforce.

What he suggests here is that there is tremendous value in distinctiveness. So don't hide it, capitalize on it.

I love this idea--as long as the "strangeness" comes naturally and isn't contrived for an audience AND strangeness doesn't turn into a new orthodoxy.

This line of thinking could add a lot of juice to the world, to the process of work and to the product.

Ad agencies have known this for a long time. The hall that houses "the creative side" will sometimes have more bright-colored toys (for stimulating creativity) than a daycare center. And copywriters and art directors tend to dress funky. You'll rarely see flowing sleeves or paper airplanes in flight over on the hall where the account executives reside.

To be able to come up with creations like the Geico gecko it helps to have to have a little room to maneuver. Even if you choose to use that flexibility to wear a Brooks Brothers suit.


Debra Whaley said...

Being an "original" has always appealed to me, considering the number of individuals who truly lack individuality!

I support the idea of "strangeness" that comes naturally, and I try very hard to instill it in my children. Although I have four daughters, they each have their own individual distinctiveness. When they were little, I dressed them all alike, and as they got older, people would tell me that I was inhibiting their individuality. I didn't care! After all, I knew many families do you see who have four daughters who proudly run around in matching outfits? They knew better, too! They knew that they were different, that they were part of a "team" that nobody else could join, try as they might. As each one reached a certain age, they let me know that it was time to branch out and develop their own unique style. It happened naturally, individually, and without any protest from me.(okay, maybe a little!) I am very proud to say that each one of my daughters now has her own personal, sometimes strange(my 17 year old cut her hair into a mohawk last year), and unique style. By allowing them to feel secure in their "teamness" as little girls, they felt free enough to express some strangeness as they got older.

I agree with you that this world could use a little more juice when it comes to the process of work and to the product. I think that is why I love that you painted morning glories all over your car so much! It makes people stop and think when they see it. It expresses who you are in a world where most cars just look the same.

Keep being the unique "you" that you are, Peggy. Your writing stands out because of your uniqueness, and in a world of books that often tell the same story over and over again, yours stand out and shine! Live unselfconsciously and the world will be a more interesting place!

Peggy said...

You're very kind. Your message is definitely an upper for me--especially glad that you feel my books stand out.

I'm also interested in the idea of your daughters being firmly part of a group before they branched out.

A famous critic I once interviewed Cleanth Brooks said that the South had an unusual number of eccentrics because the structure of the communities was so strong that that created a secure slot for people who deviated from the expectation. That's pretty abstract, but basically the same idea.

Firm base = more freedom.