Embracing the fear of innovation

History is the story of bad choices, don’t let the business be one of them

Decisions. We make them every day, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. From the first cup of coffee (or tea) to the last drink of water (or wine), decisions determine every move, thought and deed. The same applies to the organisation and the entrepreneur. Everybody believes that they are making good decisions, even when they aren’t. Often, experience and emotions cloud decisions and can have disastrous consequences that impact on an organisation’s growth, potential and market share.

Very often, the comfortable decision is the wrong one.

But how does the business leader, the entrepreneur or the manger know if their decisions are influenced by their fears and limitations? The answer lies in analysis, self-diagnosis and conscious decision making in the workplace. Leaders have to challenge perceptions by evaluating situations from a neutral perspective so that the outcomes are more in line with strategic, long-term goals.

For business leaders it is essential that they identify their own fearful behaviours and understand the motives that drive them. It is important that they place value on innovative concepts and attitudes over fearful ones – both in themselves and in their employees. Then, to derive benefit from this, there has to be a practical, step-by-step approach to how individuals deal with these fears so they can make courageous decisions.

Every organisation has its own history, its own legacy of bad decisions made with fear and great decisions made with bold brilliance. Its important that leaders and employees understand this history and assess whether this history has established a culture of fear or one that embraces innovation. If the culture is skewed towards fear, the decisions will follow suit.

Overcoming a culture of fear requires that the organisation set a standard for both the individual and the company. A standard that outlines expectations from an ethos perspective, that shows the reward for risk and the inspiration for innovation. By engaging with employees and building a culture that embraces fear, the entire culture shifts from being controlled by fear to being aware of its impact and adapting decision making to suit.

It’s easy to say that the entrepreneur, the business leader and the employee must embrace fear. It is always easier to imagine than to actually do, but the reality is that those organisations which inspire innovation are those that are leading the way in market and disruption. Those individuals who can recognise their fears and set them aside in favour of growth and invention are those that are transforming expectation and industry.

Embracing fear is a decision. There is no time like the present to do just that.