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“What is a Maverick?” – Wavelength Member Richard Addy Tells Us

So, what is the role of a “Maverick” in the Connect club? The Maverick was born when Ade and Liam decided that every now and then they came across people who didn’t traditionally fit into the “business” or “social innovator” cohorts but they liked the cut of their jib and wanted them to be in the club. So the Maverick was born.

The Mavericks we have invited into Connect bring connectivity – these are people who are already well networked, add diversity – they might be thought leaders, doing really interesting things in the world or maybe come from the public sector or be working in a slightly different space, and lastly they are people we think will add some magic to the group.

2011 our Mavericks included the Head of the Merseyside Fire Service, a Philanthropist, and a Senior Civil Servant working to transform Whitehall. This year we have a private banker, an Advisor to the Wallenberg family and CEO of H&M and two exec headhunters.

We asked Connect 2011 Maverick Richard Addy to explain his experience of being a Maverick…the traps and the lessons:

Six traps that all Mavericks should avoid

In December 2010, Ade Simpson, co founder of Wavelength asked me to become a Maverick attendee for the Wavelength Connect 2011 leadership programme.

As you can imagine, I was quite pleased that such a well connected guy as Ade had asked me to take on this responsibility. That’s until I asked myself “what does a Maverick actually do?”

Throughout 2012, I kept asking myself the same question and more worryingly so did others!

Having ceased to be an official Wavelength maverick and having had the benefit of time and space to assess my own performance, I’ve concluded there are a number of traps that all Mavericks should avoid. I won’t tell which traps I fell into…You’ll just have to guess.

So for what it’s worth here are six traps that all right thinking Mavericks should be avoid.

Trap No. 1: As a Maverick I should be clever. Wrong! During your time at Wavelength you’ll meet lots of really clever people, so don’t even try be a clever Maverick. If you ignore this advice, the opposite will happen… You’ll look stupid. Celebrate other people’s intelligence, don’t boast about your own.

Trap No. 2: As a Maverick I should be an expert. Wrong again. The problem with experts is that they think they can answer all the questions. Better to ask the questions which catalyse everyone else to come up with answers.

Trap No. 3: As a Maverick I should be well connected. Well rather than being well connected, how about making better connections happen. Making things happen by connecting people is probably one of the most rewarding gifts a maverick can give.

Trap No. 4: As a Maverick I should be challenging. Maybe sometimes, but it’s more important to support and encourage.

Trap No. 5: As a Maverick I should talk a lot. Yawn. No-one wants to listen to Mavericks going on and on. How about listening deeply and reflecting back what others have said in a consider way.

Trap No. 6: As a Maverick I should know what a maverick does. If only. Bask in your blissful ignorance, enjoy the ride and grow your humble gene.

Mavericks in your opinion have missed any others or have I caused more confusion? I’d love to know. Richard Addy was formally at the BBC and is now freelancing and working at the Guardian amongst other things!

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