Don’t fire your loose cannons just yet

12 April 2012
In the purchasing profession, the term ‘maverick’ tends to have negative connotations (think of ‘maverick spend’, for example). But research by the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of New South Wales in Australia has found this type of individual will be increasingly important to businesses in the future, due to their ability to keep firms “aggressive and competitive in the global marketplace”. Their study of 458 workers found mavericks were more inclined to be extroverts (with strong influencing skills), poor team players (despite this talent for communication and persuasiveness) and more likely to take risks – and pursue them in the face of negativity. But their ability to develop innovative and creative ideas is linked to working in an environment where they feel comfortable and don’t feel anxious. Although the academics that led the study “are not suggesting businesses rush to fill their organisations with ‘mavericks’”, they do say if companies are asking employees to do more with less (as we discovered yesterday will be the case in procurement this year) allowing staff the freedom to be creative and take risks could have benefits for the organisation. “Being a maverick is more than just having an idea or a hunch pay off, it is about taking real risks and achieving in a way that is unique and unexpected,” it said.
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