The Crazy Ones

My clan are the mavericks, the vagabonds, the mad scientists, the gypsies, the theatre people, the artists, the musicians, the deviants, the radicals, the outsiders and you.

Your clan may well be diferent but we should all raise a toast to those who inspire us and reflect upon the excellent words of by Rob Siltanen, with the participation of Lee Clow, written as part of Apple’s “Think Different” campaign.  The campaign was about reinforcing and reflecting the company’s philosophy. It was ordered by Steve Jobs when he finally resumed control of Apple, the company he once co-founded.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Be inspired to think differently too and to break the rules and raise a toast to the crazy ones who featured in Apple’s groundbreaking campaign.

Amelia Earhart

14th Dalai Lama

Jackie Robinson

Miles Davis

Alfred Hitchcock

Jim Henson

Cesar Chavez

Jim Henson

Pablo Picasso

Miles Davis

Charlie Chaplin

Jane Goodall

Mahatma Gandhi

Ansel Adams

Pablo Picasso

Mahatma Gandhi

Thomas Edison

Lucille Ball

Orson Welles

John Lennon

Maria Callas

Desi Arnaz

Frank Capra

Yoko Ono

Martha Graham

Bob Dylan

John Huston

Cesar Chavez

Joan Baez

Frank Sinatra

Albert Einstein

James Watson

Ted Turner

Richard Feynman

Amelia Earhart

Francis Ford Coppola

As your critical friend I recommend that you act with integrity, never cease to question and fear nothing but fear itself.  In our age of mass media and hype, when it is too easy to be labelled, too easy to be marginalised and too easy to be offended, too many people say nothing, do nothing and contribute nothing.

All rights reserved © 2015 Andrew Hutchinson

Inspirational Leadership

In his book The Inspirational Leader: How to Motivate, Encourage and Achieve Success Adair (2003) poses the simple question of why one person seems to emerge in a group and be accepted as a leader over anyone else. His response is structured around four themes: what you are; what you know; what you do; and what you believe. As simplistic as this approach at first appears it draws you in.

  1. The first theme of what you are appears to be a combination of personal qualities and traits, addressing issues such as warmth, humility, courage, integrity and enthusiasm.
  2. The second theme of what you know proposes that it is knowledge that gives leaders their authority. This knowledge though is not just technical, it is about being able to motivate and enthuse others.
  3. The third theme of what you do is about how you respond to the needs of the task, the team, and the individual and most importantly how these interact and the context in which they do so.  Some situations need managers and others need leaders. The key ingredient for Adair is change, as he believes that change creates a need for leaders and only leaders can deliver change.
  4. The fourth theme is what you believe. Adair takes this beyond the idea of vision and explores the impact of values, suggesting that there may be a higher spirit inspiring and guiding us. He says that leaders ask ‘why‘ in a way that convinces the intellect and engages the spirit. Adair introduces the term strategic hopefulness‘.

Much of what Adair is saying revolves around a variation of his Three Circles Model (Adair, 1988) but his introduction of values starts to strike parallels with other emerging inspirational themes. For Nicholls (1994) the inspirational message can occur anywhere and without coercion because it is about creating a compelling vision that changes people‘s paradigms. This is the ‘heart‘ that he refers to in his essay Heart, Head and Hands’ of Transforming Leadership. The notion of strategic hopefulness or inner focus emphasising the need for balance between a person‘s work and their personal life is a major tenet of Kyle‘s (1998) work in which he identifies the four powers of leadership as: cultivating presence, intention, wisdom and compassion.

Adair‘s (2003) work is appealing but for radicalism and a real insight into inspirational leadership Greenleaf‘s (1977) concept that the common characteristic of a great leader is that he is first a servant and that the desire to lead comes from the desire to serve is profound. Servant leaders articulate a vision and a dream which excites the imagination of followers but the key is that it is the trust in which they are held that is the source of their authority used to overcome the challenges.

Does this mean that we are now searching for a new kind of leadership to emboldening us to face the challenges of the twenty first century or simply looking for more ways of trying to package a concept that we still fail to fully understand?


ADAIR,J. (1988) Effective Leadership, London: Pan

ADAIR, J. (2003) The Inspirational Leader: How to Motivate, Encourage and Achieve Success, London: Kogan Page

GREENLEAF, R. K. (1977) Servant Leadership, New York: Paulist Press

KYLE, D. T. (1998), Four Powers of Leadership: Cultivating Presence, Intention, Wisdom and Compassion, FL: Health Communications

All rights reserved © 2013 Andrew Hutchinson

Room With A View

A recent conversation about things that matter got me thinking and prompted me to dig deep and share a story, a fictional one of course.

Two men, one young and one old, shared the same hospital side ward. The older man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The younger man had to spend all of his time lay flat on his back recovering from a motorcycle accident. The men talked for hours on end.  The older spoke of his late wife, the son and his family that he was estranged from, his war time experiences in France and Korea and his adjustment to ‘civvy street’ and the monotony of a back room desk job.  The younger shared his stories of ‘nights on the town’, his girlfriends, his music, his love of travel and his anxiety over the the things he may never be able to do again and the places he may never see.

Every afternoon the older man, with his bed by the window, would sit up and pass the time describing all of the things that he could see.  He would describe in detail the pretty girls in their summer dresses, the birds returning to the nest with food for their young.  Every evening the younger man’s mother and father or some other family member or friend would make the long journey and visit.  The love was always there but the conversation though always polite were sometimes strained as he had to tell his visitors not to worry, that he was alright, that everything would be okay.  Inside he didn’t know if he believed it all himself, he felt angry, frustrated, tired.  He read that you never appreciate the freedom of movement until it is taken away from you, the freedom to get up and walk from one place to another, to stretch, to run, to leap.  The older man always slept through his roommate’s visits.  As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months the young man lived for those one hour slots when his senses were exercised and his world came alive as the old man shared his view of the park, the trees, the sun shining on his face, the rain which sounded so refreshing, not like the drizzle that the young man remembered.  He heard an ice cream van once and the old man described the young lovers he could see sharing an ice cream, God he could taste it the image was so vivid.  The life, the colour, the fun, all of it out there beyond the window, all of it waiting for him.  Yes there were loves to be loved and a life to be lived.  He would ride that bike again, he would leave this bed and he would live a life.

He remembered the previous night’s routine of being woken up to take his sleeping tablet but this morning he came around more slowly than usual.  Usually he was shaken from his slumber by one of the morning rottweilers in green, given his meds and dabbed with a damp flannel but not this morning.  He strained to look sideways but could only see the top of the curtains drawn around his bed.  There were hushed voices and the noise of a trolley being wheeled away, then silence.  A long, long silence.  He waited until later in the day and when it seemed appropriate asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse checked and returned later with a colleague, happy to oblige.  Just one week later and he was free of his contraption, free of his shackles, free of the weights and pulleys.  Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take in the view, to see the pretty girls, the birds in the trees, the office workers strolling in the park.

A wall, a bloody wall, a side on view of another building.  No park, no trees, no pretty girls.  Months in here and he’d never shouted.  Months in here and he’d always used the buzzer, waiting patiently, never shouting, “Nurse, nurse”.  He was shouting now, “Nurse, nurse”.  God they flooded in.  “So what happened, when did they build that?”  Later he lay there still, motionless, smiling, a tear rolling down his cheek.  They’d told him that the building had always been there.  When he told them what the old man had shared with him, what the old man had seem, they just looked at each other puzzled.  They just smiled.  The words echoed around his head, “He was blind”, the old man was blind.  He’d lost his sight as a young man in Korea and his wife who had cared for him had died six years earlier before he was diagnosed with his illness.  He’d fallen and broken his hip and not had a single visitor.  He’d had no-one but he’d given the gift of hope to the young man who shared his room.


The origin of this story is unknown but I do know that when you have nothing to give, you can share happiness and you can give hope.  You can have every material possession that you ever needed or wanted but there are still those who will be richer.   If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can’t buy.

All rights reserved © 2013 Andrew Hutchinson