A loyal heretic is someone who sees a truth that contradicts the conventional wisdom of the organization and remains loyal to both. — Art Kleiner
Unsurprisingly, there are risks inherent in being a loyal heretic. Questioning, challenging, and contradicting can be perceived negatively. Yet loyal heretics are key to organizational growth and transformation, as they are visionaries who challenge accepted practices and common knowledge. Without loyal heretics, organizations fall prey to groupthink.
Years ago, an influential school leader described me as a “loyal heretic” and I’ve held fast to the title ever since. Loyal heretic is not a role I chose, but a disposition, a function of the way I think. I’m forever grateful to this leader for recognizing my value by naming my role. Since that time I always strive to fulfill his exhortation to “keep (my) heretical tactics at play.”