We find this article noteworthy for two reasons. First, we learn that management consultants can use religious terminology and concepts to speak lucidly about organizational behavior and corporate life.
Second, we start to think that perhaps what is good for a commercial corporation may be good for an organized religion.
LaBarre's observations begin, "Making your organization a home for heretics just might be the best way of making sure it has a future."
The article then uses the CIA and IBM as example organizations that benefitted from embracing the heretics within them: "If a rigidly controlled intelligence agency and a hundred-year-old industrial corporation can welcome (and profit from) heretics, what's stopping you?"
The article suggests that corporations, "Forget the rules -- build belief."
I asked author and serial troublemaker Seth Godin what it takes to make an organization safe for heretics. "There's a big difference between religion and faith," he said. "Religion is the set of rules created to maximize the chances that you will do what the manager wants you to do. A heretic is someone who has faith but could care less about religion."The essay recommends that organizations change their thinking and concludes, "Revel in the fringe."
The organizations that are most hospitable to heretics find ways to bring out the welcome mat for fringe elements. Scour your organization and beyond for positive deviants, invite dissent, and stop trying to shape people to fit your mold. Spend time with people who are not like you (and who you may not like). Hire "slow learners" (of the organizational code).
Remember, you need the heretics -- they don't need you.
...heretics exist whether you like it or not (the trick is to learn to like it). A person with a dream will only grow more determined in the face of resistance.
A book with a dream: "God's Favorite Prayers"