Is it time to go Punk?

domoregreatworkIn today’s post, guest blogger and author Michael Bungay Stanier takes punk to the office and says it’s time to break some rules.

Malcolm McLaren, founder of The Sex Pistols, died the other day.

I never got into punk. Never quite understood the music, the vulgarity and the anger. Or maybe the fashion sense just wasn’t me – I think at the time, the apogee of style for me was a pale pink polo shirt.

But on reading McLaren’s obits, I’ve started to have a change of mind. Here’s what he says about the ethos of punk:

“I always said punk was an attitude. It was never about having a Mohican haircut or wearing a ripped T-shirt. It was all about destruction, and the creative potential within that … Turn left if you’re supposed to turn right; go through any door that you’re not supposed to enter. It’s the only way to fight your way through to any kind of authentic world in a world beset by fakery.”

Now, I’ve just read research from Right Management that says, in companies employing 50 people or more, fifty percent identify themselves as being completely unengaged in their job. Fifty percent! Perhaps some punk attitude is needed to shake things up.

At this stage I could offer you a range of tips to stop following the rules. But that would be following the “how to write a good blog post” rules.

So instead, I’m going to form a band.

The new Sex Pistols.

Punk Work.

Seth Godin‘s on leading vocals and chief song-writer. This is a man who can craft a hook, can catch our imagination. Whether it’s Purple Cow, The Dip or Linchpin, he knows how to get something stuck in your head. And he’s even got the haircut for it.

Jason Fried is on lead guitar. He’s just put out ReWork, full of short solos on what it takes to stop business as usual and try something else.

New kid Scott Belsky is on bass. Making Ideas Happen is rooted in creativity, but it’s about making stuff real. That’s an urgent rhythm that fits right behind Fried’s lead.

And finally, I’ve got Dan Pink on drums. Drive is all about Motivation 3.0, a plea to manage in a way that gives people Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery. It’s the tireless beat that gives all of this a foundation that works.

Me? I was toying with the Do More Great Work tambourine. But maybe I’ll follow McLaren’s lead and play the managerial role, pulling the talent together and helping it have an impact.

How about you? Who’d be in your band? What inspires you to turn left if you’re supposed to turn right?

–Michael Bungay Stanier is the Senior Partner of Box of Crayons ( His new book Do More Great Work: Stop the busywork and start the work that matters is a practical guide to finding, starting and sustaining your own Great Work. Watch a short movie

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