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5 essentials for creating a fearless organization

3 min read


Today’s guest post is by Ralph Heath, managing partner of Synergy Leadership Group and author of “Celebrating Failure: The Power of Taking Risks, Making Money, and Thinking Big.”

How do you create a work environment that can continue to evolve in a changing business environment? An organization that can constantly change, grow and seek new opportunities?

  • Encourage swagger. Build an unshakable confidence in what you are doing. Let your workforce know they are best in class at what they are doing. And if that is not the case, you must make certain you become best of class — or find something at which you can be the best.
  • Develop a culture of controlled risk taking. Fear and paranoia are crippling mentally and physically. A fearless workforce is free to think big and test bold new ideas. No one will stop their ideas with killer phrases like “we tried that before” or “we don’t have enough (insert one: time, money, space, talent).”
  • Give away control. The more power you give away, the more power comes back to you many times over. I know it sounds counterintuitive to the way we all think, and nothing is more painful than watching a control freak attempt to give up control. But great things happen when you give away control because you have told someone that, short term, you trust them implicitly to carry out a very important role you just designated to them. The last thing they want to do is fail you, or abuse the trust you have placed in them, and so they are hyper-focused on delivering success, more so even than on their own projects. Long term you have created a loyal lieutenant for life because you have differentiated yourself by telling someone you trust him or her. Sadly, most people never learn what that feels like.
  • Ownership. The more ownership the workforce has in the ideas and principles of the organization the harder they will work to make certain the company is successful. Thus, group vision sessions, where workers are contributing to the development of the company vision and mission, give them ownership in the “why” behind what we are asking them to do. Conversely, leaders who deliver the “obey me or die” style of leadership never have that loyal buy-in and understanding of the “why” behind what you are asking them to accomplish.
  • Celebrate failures. The greatest learning experiences are failures. Celebrate your failures so everyone understands it’s not only okay to fail but it is an essential step in developing new initiatives that eventually succeed. After the celebration analyze the failure in a positive environment and then continuously improve on the failed attempt until you either succeed or determine it is best to move on to other new initiatives.

Image credit, PeskyMonkey, via iStock