Deviantism #41: Neither break nor adhere to a rule, just because it’s a rule (NB: this blog post focused on rules, not laws. Please, don’t break the law…but do try this at home). When we announced the name of our company, socialdeviant, people chuckled. Some blushed. Some thought it was one of the coolest names for a company they’d ever heard.
Most assumed there was some element of badass to the name, and thus, the company. Many assumed that we’d break with convention, bend every regulation, be creative anarchists, full tilt.
And then someone said this to me: “Oh ok I get it. You guys are just going to do whatever you want, rules be damned.”
Well, they were half right.
For sure, we’re going to do whatever we want to do. Not because we can, but because we should. Because it’s the right thing to do, for our clients and for our business. I’m not much of an anarchist, and I don’t really believe much in sticking it to the man. As a father, I fully appreciate the value of rules – they establish guardrails, provide structure, create clarity, and form the boundaries for individual exploration.
When in pursuit of a goal, an ambition, or a higher purpose, rules can be helpful in the ways I mention above.
But they can also be impediments – formulaic, generic barriers that serve no purpose but to obstruct. Who actually believed that drinking beer on a Sunday was any more nefarious than doing so on a Saturday?
And so, as we pursue our dreams, we learn that from time to time, a rule might get broken.
And by breaking the rules, we learn another lesson – we learn about consequences. No harm, no foul.
But to merely break the rule simply because it’s a rule is, well, sophomoric at best.
It serves no purpose, and thus, isn’t a useful pursuit.
Equally, to follow a rule simply because it’s a rule, is at worst, compliant, at best, lazy.
So back to our name for a second.
If you look up in a math textbook, a deviation is a term without judgment. It merely means, something that is apart from the mean. Which just means, something that is not average. It’s neither good, nor bad. It just is.
And so for us at socialdeviant, our goal is to examine and question everything. To deviate from the norm when it serves us to do so, by making our own rules in the service of our two grand ambitions:
1. To deliver value for our clients every single day
2. To be the world’s kindest company, full stop.
If we simply followed every rule in the marketing services industry, our best hope would be to be just like everyone else. And that wouldn’t get us very far relative to our ambitions.
After all, Thoreau said a life unexamined is not worth living. The same applies for rules. Always examine them – always think about their relevance for you, and for the situation at hand – and then decide how they apply to the pursuit of your own grand ambition.