To "make waves" is the opposite of "going with the flow." To make waves is to stand out, to demonstrate your individuality and uniqueness, and to make a name for yourself by becoming better known. Hopefully, when we make waves, it is in a good way, so that we are known for our successes, and not for our failures. Example: "Martha made waves when she campaigned for extra sick leave for all employees. Not everyone agreed with her, but everyone respected that she genuniely believes in her idea."