Employing outsiders: a survival guide

A version of this article recently appeared in Management Issues magazine Outsiders are usually the disruptive workplace mavericks that employers cannot wait to see the back of. So how can managers turn them into positive employees? Robert Kelsey – author of The Outside Edge: How Outsiders can Succeed in a World Made by Insiders – explores the challenges and opportunities …

Rachel Dolezal’s identity issues are America’s problem, not hers

As a teenager, my father gave me a serious lecture about the fluidity of tribal identity. “You can change your name,” he stated. “You can also change your job, your religion, your mates, your nationality and even – these days – your sex. But you can never – ever – change your football team.” Yes, another relegation-threatened season was challenging …

Is this the best time and place to be an outsider?

  Is now the best time to be an outsider? Since the launch of the book, I’ve been asked this several times in interviews, and it’s got me wondering. Certainly, as a society we seem to be producing more and more people that feel like they don’t belong – but this doesn’t necessarily equate to an advantage for the estranged. …

Outsider artists and the caricaturing of Essex

  Two Essex artists have grabbed my attention this week. Centuries apart, they reveal not only the changing culture and demography of my home county but also the changing nature of outsidership. We’ll start with John Constable (1776-1837) – a candidate to dignify the new £20 note (you can vote for him here). Born and raised on the Essex-Suffolk border, Constable …

The bitter Sugar-coated pill that Labour must swallow

So Lord (Alan) Sugar has quit the Labour Party – appalled, apparently, with Ed Miliband’s anti-business rhetoric and general agnosticism towards wealth creation and the private sector. Hardly big news, I guess: some questioned his affinity in the first place while others wondered whether it was, in part, the inequities of the UK’s honours system that led him to embrace Labour. Certainly, the …

A “park the bus” election that ignores our entrepreneurial future

Am I the only one thinking this a God-awful election campaign? With the polls on a knife-edge it’s become more like an Arsenal Vs Chelsea fixture – with the focus being, not on winning, but on not making mistakes, avoiding the loss. The two main parties are supposed to be travelling the country on their election buses, but appear – …

OMG! I think I’m a female entrepreneur

The Centre for Entrepreneurs (of which I am deputy chairman) and Barclays Bank recently launched a report on female entrepreneurs. Called “Shattering Stereotypes”, the aim was to use surveys and empirical data to undermine our perceived ideas (and even prejudices) regarding women as owners of start-up companies. This it did admirably – noting that women entrepreneurs were on average younger …

An outsider’s view of the election: when two tribes go to the polls

I’ve been working with David Cameron and Ed Miliband for the past 30 years, on and off. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’ve been working with them – i.e. those two individuals. In fact, I’ve yet to meet either of the main party leaders. Just that during my time as an adult – as a student in Manchester and working in London’s …

Outsiders on a mission need judgement: just ask Howard Schultz

Do outsiders lack judgement? It’s one of the central questions I attempt to answer in The Outside Edge: How Outsiders Can Succeed in a World Made by Insiders – not least because it’s one that dogs outsiders no matter how far we progress. It’s also topical because of the only-slowly abating media/Twitter storm in the US over Starbucks’ now-stalled “#racetogether” …

Outsiders and the “white male” problem

With The Outside Edge about to hit the shops, we’ve been trying to drum up some publicity. But we’ve hit a snag: one I’m calling the “white male” problem. “You’re a white male,” several reviewers have now stated. “That makes you the ultimate insider. So what do you know about being an outsider?” Of course, outsiders are often – perhaps …