Book Review: Rebel Talent
“Rebel Talent” by Francesca Gino
c.2018, Dey St .
$27.99 / $34.99 Canada
Your latest hire came highly recommended.
His former employer spoke very favorably about him but there was something unsaid that you picked up on, and it’s nagging you. He’s very competent – and yet, he’s also pretty far outside the box. Read “Rebel Talent” by Francesca Gino, though, and you’ll wish you had more employees like him.
As do most, your business undoubtedly runs on rules: when to be at work, how to claim territory, when to meet, and when to leave. That’s how a business runs… except when it doesn’t. Sometimes, rules need to be stretched, bent, and broken.
In her career as a researcher, Francesca Gino studies things like that, how employees react to rules, and how corporations thrive or fail. As it turns out, those are all strongly linked and what Gino calls “rebel talent” may be a powerful game-changer.
Being a rebel talent doesn’t mean “becoming an outcast”; it’s more of a nonconformity thing. It’s being confident and mature enough to understand which rules are immovable and how to break the ones that aren’t. Rebel talent is knowing then how to harness the power that comes when behaving “in ways that are unconventional or unexpected.”
There are, Gino says, “five core elements of rebel talent.”
Novelty is the embrace of new, the celebration of differences and ritual, and the ability to see when change is “clearly in our best interest.” Curiosity is what makes toddlers ask “why?” It’s also where innovation comes from and new ideas are launched. Perspective is the ability to turn personal experience into real-time relevance. Diversity is knowing that differences aren’t divisive but are enhancements offering “a competitive advantage.” And authenticism is staying engaged, living honest, embracing your imperfections, and doing what you do best.
Being someone with rebel talent can lessen stress, enhance relationships, and further careers. It helps with employee retention and satisfaction. And it’s fun for you, too: you can become a “Rebel Leader” like the pirate, Blackbeard, who gained “glory and riches” without harming a single captive during his career…
Unlike most business books you’ll find that recommend embracing that employee who marches to a different drummer, “Rebel Talent” has another thing to offer: in addition to its informative value, it’s also a blast to read.
In her book, author Francesca Gino doesn’t take a cause-and-effect tactic. Readers don’t even get instruction here; instead, you’ll read anecdote after example of small businesses and national corporations that turned around, grew, or reinvigorated after doing things in ways that counteracted what conventional wisdom indicated. Gino advocates allowing workers more autonomy, and listening to what they have to say about their workplace – and she shows how not doing so can hurt both entity and employee. There’s plenty of research to back up what Gino says, and humor to keep you engaged.
Reading this book is like thinking outside several boxes, simultaneously. It’s like suddenly wanting to loosen the buttons on your button-down suit. “Rebel Talent” is fun and promises more fun, and it comes highly recommended.