I’m sure it has not been difficult to figure out that my interests and my approach to what I do is not typical. It is less by design and more by the nature of who I am.
When it comes to writing, my approach has been to avoid trends, be a (friendly) rebel, and satisfy my curiosity, while my overall goal was to produce unique books — a unique collection of books, as it turns out. I have achieved what I set out to do. Now I am putting on the finishing touches.
All along, I wanted to:
- Be independent of others
- Strive for intellectual freedom
- Avoid the poison of politics
- Don’t succumb to the common way of thinking
- Figure out what is missing
- Fend off distractions
- Think critically
- Be factual and logical
- Build on the work of others
- Go where the research takes me
- Be creative
- Produce insightful work
- Call out what is illogical and absurd
- Be a participant in something special
- Avoid the limelight
I have always focused on producing what I thought was most important, not what was most popular. That might be a losing business strategy, but it is a winning strategy for making a substantial contribution to the body of progressive management knowledge.
My work and my being are ripostes to the status quo.
I have tried very hard to make it about the product (my books) and not about me, as is so often disturbingly the case in Lean world. I wanted to avoid the club-like atmosphere, the ever-present duplicity, the glad handing, and the incessant requirement to praise even the smallest achievements of one’s peers — the social status quo. I wanted to maintain my independence from all that, which in my view reduces clarity and diverts attention, and develop a truer connection to the facts and to my readers.
I had the opportunity and ability to do it my way, and so that’s what I did. It was a sacrifice in service to others that I think few are willing to make. But it was right for me.