JVH the Maverick


JVH the Maverick

I’m still laughing — I got a call a few minutes ago from a fellow who wanted some direction on marketing a new product. He said he called the "IPI or NPA or somewhere," his words, not mine, and he was directed to me.  The person he spoke to said I was the "Maverick" of the industry and probably could point him in the right direction.

Well, Webster defines "maverick as follows:

1 : an unbranded range animal; especially : a motherless calf
2 : an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party

Etymology: Samuel A. Maverick died 1870 American pioneer who did not brand his calves

Well, I can assure you I’m not branded so definition number two must be the one that fits. Yep — according to parking group think I am a Maverick.  I agree, to a point.

There’s a story about training monkeys.  Some psych students put three monkeys in a cage with a ladder that led up to a banana. When any monkey started up the ladder, they sprayed all the monkeys with cold water. After a couple of goes at this, when one started up the ladder, the other monkeys jumped it and pulled it off the ladder.

Then they took one monkey out, replaced it, and and when the newbie started up the ladder, the other monkeys stopped it. (no water)  After a while, they replaced another of the cold water monkeys and the same thing occurred. They then replaced the final monkey who had experienced the cold water.

This continued until a number of generations had passed without cold water. However the monkeys still attacked those newbies that tried to get the banana.

The new folks were beaten down, even though the threat to the monkeys was gone, and no one could remember why they shouldn’t attempt to get the banana. The attitude was "we do it this way because we always did it this way."

Each new monkey learned from his peers and if he (or she) tried to start something new, he was put forcefully in his place.

Hopefully, a maverick could come along and ask "Why are we doing it this way?" The banana is there, it tastes good, we are all hungry. Lets eat it."

Sure you take a risk. The cold water may come back. However without risk and change we get no where.

I think all organizations, groups and industries need someone, a gadfly or maverick, if you will, to make outrageous statements and keep people from becoming the third generation of cold water monkeys. Try, test, adjust, fail, try again. Its not always comfortable, but it gets things moving. And that’s good.

Sometime in the future I will hold forth on my theory that "All Change is Good."


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. I agree John You truely are a Maverick, but what concerns me is If you are a Maverick, what am I? maybe they have not come up with a name for it yet.

  2. Keep up the good work John. It is the Mavericks of the world that generate change, primarily for the good.

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