Success and Courage
Courage is the tenth C in the twelve part series of the C’s of Success.
Courage can be considered the catalyst for getting higher levels of performance. It really is about the willingness to take a calculated risk to get the higher returns. Without courage, individuals and organizations would be under performing on a regular basis.
What is Courage?
To me, courage is all about having the desire to take calculated risk without worrying about fear issues. In fact courage is all about moving past fear and focusing on doing the right things to get the necessary returns in both life and work. Without courage, people and organizations would never take a risk or chance on anything less than a slam dunk situation.
What is Individual Courage?
Okay, I said courage is all about overcoming fear. Actually, there are two types of fear that create a lack of courage: The Fear of Rejection and the Fear of Failure.
The Fear of Rejection is a show stopper since individuals want others to like them and friendship can be a huge motivator for many individuals. When and if these individuals feel they could be rejected by others – socially or professionally – they limit the risk with tactics that lead to lower performance or the actually thing they fear.
An example of the fear of rejection concerns sales people who will not call on strangers or difficult people. The interesting thing about this activity or inaction is they lose the opportunity of making a sale. The fact that strangers become prospects and potential customers AFTER you meet them is the first clue. The second scenario involves a person that is difficult – meaning they will probably reject me. The reality is they may reject your offer, yet, seldom reject the person delivering the offer. No action leads to no results every time!
The Fear of Failure is a different fear yet has a real negative impact upon those that are involved. Individuals who decide to avoid an activity, action, decision or effort – will lose for sure. Individuals who are rendered ineffective because of the fear of failure – play not to lose most of the time. And, people who play not to lose usually lose! Interesting. Remember, no risk by its definition means no gain. And, today, taking no risk for improvement means you will probably lose more.
One of the most interesting areas of individual life is in the world of relationships. Yet, I am amazed at the number of people who will limit themselves to living alone since they are fearful that someone they would like to date or meet could reject them or not be interested in them. Two comments about this behavior or thought process. First, by never asking, you will never know the real answer – would they or wouldn’t they? The Second thing, I have found that many beautiful ladies stay home on date nights because no one will call and ask them out! These are ladies who would enjoy being with others and are not interested in things like how much money you have or what you look like – they are real people who want to meet others. I will admit there are some of the shallow types who are interested in the wrong things – yet, they are a minority in real life.
What is Organizational Courage?
Now, here is where leadership takes the front seat. Leaders of organizations must be willing to take a risk if the organization is to grow and be more profitable. There needs to be an attitude of taking calculated risks – not the loosey-goosey high risk stuff that just cost the country a recession – I’m talking about the amount to take a risk on a new product or service, new technology that could change your efficiency in the plant, or a new joint venture with an exciting new high energy company that fits with your strategic objectives.
There are a number of organizations being led today by scarcity thinkers. These people want to take absolutely no risk in any area and would prefer to cut every expense in the organization until there is almost no one or nothing left to produce and sell products or services. You can not cut your way out of trouble – it only delays the really bad stuff.
Organizations need future or forward looking thinkers would see opportunities coming in the future. These people will take the organization to the next level of success. The best leaders I have worked with during the past 30 years are the ones who look into the future and figure out the direction their organization needs to take. Then they make decisions now that will impact the organization two to five years down the road. The wrong direction to look is backward – it is history. Remember, the future holds the key to the future and ongoing success of the organization. The natural product and service life cycle will take out a successful organization without having the courage to take a new risk for the future.
Apple is a great example of a company that is willing to take risks and fail – learn from their mistakes – take a new risk and win big. Apple has lost big with computers sure as the Apple III and Lisa, yet won with the MAC. Then Apple became a different company with the iPod, iTunes Store and iPhone, yet they also lost with the Newton. Today, Apple is a growing organization with huge cash flows from non computer products and computers. In fact, Apple is the largest online sales source for digital entertainment with the Apple Store downloads – that register in the billions of downloads.
The question for you to ask is Do You Have the Courage to Support a New “Whatever” for the Future Well Being of Your Organization? If you don’t have any thing now – Then What Can You Do About It Today? Courage and action go hand in hand.
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