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Misfits May Be Just the People You Need

March 11th, 2019

The Incredibles movie poster

Last year's "The Incredibles 2" grossed $1.2 billion, was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe and was named the Best Animated Film by the National Board of Review.

As incredible as that it is, what's more incredible is that none of that would have happened if it wasn't for a band of disgruntled misfits.

The New York Times tells the story of how Pixar director Brad Bird recruited a group of frustrated animators to make the original "Incredibles," a film few had confidence in could ever be made, yet which went on to win two Oscars and gross $631 million when it was released in 2004.

With all he resources of a highly successful studio like Pixar at his disposal, why would Bird seek out the disaffected? It's a group most us prefer to avoid. What Bird knew is that frustrated people can also be remarkably inventive.

Written by Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton, the article observes that, "When we’re dissatisfied, instead of fight or flight, sometimes we invent." That sometimes is incubated by support to pursue ideas and commitment to the team. Bird, Grant writes, "Found people who were frustrated because they cared, and he started listening to them."

He did one more thing -- he set difficult goals others thought impossible. "They rose to the challenge, testing ideas that had never have been considered by the mainstream technicians and animators."

Concludes Grant, "So don’t discount the misfits on your team. Find out why they’re frustrated and invite them to solve the problems they see. The results can be … incredible."

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