Over the years, I have witnessed an increasing lack of boldness in business environments. It might not quite be called “fear”, but it is certainly an unwillingness to take reasoned risks. I’m sure some feel that it is better for their career to stay safe (or not take any risks) than to challenge the status quo and act. Some examples:
- Many individuals fear making a decision until they have obtained concurrence from a large number of other individuals – in essence, they seek to get many others in the boat with them before making a final decision – as a result, actions are delayed, important activities are stymied, and individuals become frustrated by a lack of progress while the true decision-maker is busy finding others with which to share the potential blame
- Some individuals in regulated roles (Quality and EHS, for example) live in fear of ever having to explain their actions to the regulatory inspectors – thus, there is a need to overdo everything such that no questions could ever arise – as a result, important changes do not get implemented, we sample/test where it is not needed, and we fail to utilize appropriate science to manage important activities of our business
- Some procrastinate making decisions by continually asking for new information, additional data, more meetings, etc. – these delaying tactics accomplish little and drive frustration for lack of progress
I think most companies and their senior managers thirst for individuals willing to be bold and accomplish key tasks, even when some risks exist. By understanding and mitigating the major risks, we essentially defer action on things that pose very little risk. I believe our senior managers see individuals willing to drive for results, willing to be bold, and willing to go where no one else will go as high-potential talent. In short, I believe that by acting with boldness (e.g., taking some low risks, saying what others are afraid to say, and doing what others are unwilling to do), you will accelerate your own career. Conversely, if you will never take a risk, will never speak up, and will only act when you have 100% confidence, I say that anyone could do that! Be different and set yourself apart from the crown – act boldly!
Thanks for making this a better world. Have an awesome and bold day!