Ike Prefers the Toilet
We have a demon cat by the name of Ike who has some bad habits. The other day I walked past the bathroom and saw is orange butt in the air with his face and paws in the toilet taking a drink. This, by the way, while he was within 20 feet of two bowls of clean water, one of them a specially designed kitty fountain.
Ike is a bit of a legend in the neighborhood, as he likes to roam and is a fighter. He often comes home with scratches on his head and tufts of different colored fur between his toes. A recent trip to the vet uncovered another cat’s claw stuck in his head.
He can also be very sweet, especially when he wants food, and is good entertainment. All in all, a pretty good team member at our house though certainly an outlier.
It’s a natural tendency to try to get everyone on your team to act similarly—to drink from the same cat bowl, so to speak. There have to be some shared values and alignment toward the goals of the organization or you just have a worthless disturbance on the team.
But there are also those who are aligned with the goals, share the critical values, but go about their work in a different way. They are not conformists, they are more like Ike.
Early in my career I didn’t like having Ike-like people on my team. They are always questioning the course of action (which I no doubt charted on my own), asking you to think about things in a different way and making others slightly uncomfortable.
A client has an Ike-like player on his team and says that he gets flexibility because, as he says, “you have to let Kobe Bryant play the game his way.”
I started writing this piece with the idea that Ike was a good example of someone that you didn’t want on your team—stretching if not breaking the rules—but I think that my example perhaps proves just the opposite. If they are trying to help you win, sometimes you need to allow people to drink from their own bowl and get a few scratches in the process.
Todd coaches CEOs to higher levels of success. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000 people. Todd is the author of, Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing).