In business, it’s the results that count. Not condoning the cliché, “The ends justify the means” –that’s another conversation –but our road to success has to be filled with productivity or we cannot move our business or career forward. Leaders have an eye for people who get the job done, even if the methods seem unorthodox. Of course, the paths we take must be legal, ethical and moral, but allowing for creative solutions and supporting those who may appear “quirky,” but who achieve the desired goals is important. “Quirky” can even lead to creative new solutions and changes that could become standards.
Many franchise concepts started with odd habits that led to a successful process and systems to follow for consistency –like McDonald’s French fries drying in a back room before they were cooked or the five holes in a White Castle Burger to allow them to cook quicker. It is said that the famous French philosopher Voltaire drank tremendous amounts of coffee, 40 to 50 cups every day. Benjamin Franklin allegedly took “cold air baths” every morning for one to two hours, meaning he would strip down, open all the windows of his home and hang out naked. During moments of intensity, Microsoft’s Bill Gates is known to spend time in a rocking chair to help him relax.
In a recent strategy meeting, while discussing standards and practices for the company, one of my executives said, “You have quirks that work for you and our team.” Entrepreneurs develop habits along the way that lead to success or setbacks. The CEO, president or other leaders may even develop behaviors that do not seem to make sense to others (at least not on the surface) and can often be viewed as quirky.
Productivity is key, even if it comes from someone who seems to be odd or doing things others cannot understand or appreciate. This is where true leadership comes in, and an insightful examination of the facts can pay dividends.
The trick to capitalizing on quirky is to see it for what it really is, perhaps innovative or unique, but most important is the question, “Does it lead to profitability?” Is it the most efficient method to achieve the desired goals? Breaking someone’s habits can be difficult and may lessen their ability to perform, so we must observe, and if their methods work, don’t try to fix them. You may even be able to capitalize on the success and get others around you to follow a more productive although eccentric path. This could lead to unexpected innovation and enhanced performance.
It may pay for all of us to be a little quirkier. Think outside the box, consider unique ways of accomplishing the best end result. Most of the time, good, consistent habits are needed to excel, but if there is someone in your office who gets things done but marches to a different drummer, celebrate their success and make room for their uniqueness.