Great timing by Kyle Baxter, following yesterday’s Seth Godin link. He makes it clear how just following orders makes you a replaceable cog, something you don’t want to be as an individual or a company:

Your company has to stand for something, and if you’re not taking a position on something, it means it’s standing for whatever you’re trying to disavow responsibility for.

If all you do is follow orders, you’re not contributing anything.

If all you do is carry out what your boss instructed you to do—not adding anything to it—you’re a replaceable cog.

If all you do is “what the customer has demanded”—e.g., build a smartphone with a little larger buttons so they’re easier to press, rather than build the touch-screen mobile computer customers didn’t know they wanted until they saw it—you’re replaceable.

Don’t just follow orders. Don’t be afraid to take responsibility. Stand for something.

You might fail. But you might also succeed more than you knew possible.