What makes a maverick?

We work with lots of mavericks in here at Blackhawk and define mavericks as willfully independent people.

We work with mavericks at work; talented, honest people who can see the holes in the arguments and are rule breakers. They are the top performers in the company but are useless at interacting with people effectively. This sometimes leads to accusations of bullying – even though the person isn’t a bully. They are great at what they do but are often on the verge of being sacked.

We also work with maverick business owners. Ambitious business owners with big goals, very focused on their core skill (training for example) but need focus and clarity and strategic direction to grow their business. We also help them become more credible and build their reputation.

I personally believe mavericks are people who write their own rulebook. They are the ones who act first and talk later. They are fiercely independent thinkers who know how to fight the lizard brain (to use Seth Godin’s term).

I don’t believe many are born, rather they are products of an environment, or their experiences.

They are usually the people that find the accepted norm does not meet their requirements and have the self-confidence, appetite, independence, degree of self reliance and sufficient desire to carve out their own niche in life.

I believe a maverick thinker can take a new idea, champion it, and push it beyond the ability of a normal person to do so. I also believe the best mavericks can build a team, can motivate with their vision, their passion, and can pull together others to accomplish great things. A wise maverick knows that they need others to give full form to their views and can gather these necessary contributors around them.

Mavericks, in my experience, fall into various categories – a/ the totally off-the-wall, uncontrollable genius who won’t listen to anyone; b/ the person who thinks that they have the ONLY solution to a challenge but prepared to consider others’ views on how to conquer the world &, finally, the person who thinks laterally to overcome problems considered to be irresolvable. I like in particular the third category.

The upside is that mavericks, because of their different outlook on life, often sees opportunities and solutions that others cannot. But the downside is that often, because in life there is always some degree of luck in success (i.e. being in the right place at the right time), mavericks that fail are often ridiculed for their unorthodox approach. However when they succeed they are acclaimed for their inspiration. It is indeed a fine line they walk in life.

I know I am a maverick otherwise I would not have sufficient understanding of what makes a maverick tick to offer the comments above. While I don’t really care too much what others think of me for being a maverick.

In my humble experience, many in the world of finance, VC and private equity actually frown on having anything to do with mavericks, until of course they have already succeeded, by which time mavericks really no longer require their participation and input.

I was blessed to meet such people in my life. I may conclude that all those mavericks I met are movers, those who make marks and needed changes. It’s their mission… Ability to recognize and understand them is a talent. The truth is that short minded person wouldn’t deal with maverick in fear of leaving his/her comfort zone… Acceptance of mavericks’ ideas is distinguishing for those not-ordinary-people, who are mavericks themselves.

Now my debate questions are these:

• What makes a maverick in your opinion?

• Would you identify yourself as one?

• Do you have any great maverick stories – people that you have worked with or things that you have done?

Looking forward to doing business with you all – especially those smart mavericks out there – and to continue being your resource for deals, capital, relationships and advice.

Your feedback as always is greatly appreciated.

Share your thoughts

Written by

Ziad K Abdelnour is a Wall Street Financier, Author, Philanthropist, Activist, Lobbyist, Oil & Gas Trader & President & CEO of Blackhawk Partners, Inc.,