I love radical change, transformative and brave. Incremental change is important, “marginal gains” and all of that is vital to maintaining forward momentum. However, for me what I love is supporting leaders who are hungry and brave and know deeply that something more radical is needed and that this is their path.
So, when a client asks me for my advice on how to transformationally change their organisation, after I listen, ask questions, then listen some more, I often come up with this statement.
In order to make failure possible, you first have to try, to commit, to go where it may scare or even terrify you, to be vulnerable, to say “this might not work” and do it anyway.
Very recently I was disappointed to witness this first hand in someone. They were presented with a real opportunity, yet my sense is that it felt too scary to them to try, so instead, they creating a rationale for them to choose to back away and shut down. Rather than risk failure, they chose not to commit, to make the effort, to try.
By making the choice not to try, as Cate Campbell notes (see letter below) that person “let the fear of failure destroy the possibility of success”. We all have our own journey to go on, our own choices to make, and reflecting on that experience, today I’ll riff on this with lessons from two leaders. (more…)
Today I woke up to see this story of a 21 year old Swedish woman taking a stand against deportation of an Afghan from her country by standing up to prevent her flight from departing. Her name is Elin Errson, and she literally took a stand for what she believed to be right.
The video below is edited to 3′ and is very emotional and inspirational.
I’ve then linked to a Guardian interview of Ms Errson, then added my own thoughts and links to thoughts from two earlier posts on this site.
We can all be brave leaders through our individual actions
All we need do is simply take a stand for what we believe in, by simply being of integrity to that and acting from that place.
Perhaps it is the entrepreneur in me who not only is “risk tolerant” but feels that life is not meant to be lived in a pallet of muted pastels but in vibrant technicolour. Whatever the reason, I choose to work with leaders, businesses, organisations that are brave, that choose to stretch out of their comfort zone, are comfortable being uncomfortable.
Now, in my work I come across lots of senior HR leaders in large corporations and organisations, yet very rarely do I come across any that are truly brave, that look to stretch, seek the transformative change, go against the grain.
When I do find such leaders, I look to build relationships that last with them, to learn from them and to support them as they look to drive change for their employer, their people, their customers and other stakeholders.
Again and again, I have been to HR conferences where the talk is of the common complaint that, though people are the greatest asset, many HR leaders are not considered strategic, nor offered a true “seat at the table” in leadership teams, “C” Suites etc.
Unpopular as it may be to some, my belief is that a core reason is that so few will actually champion (and put their own careers on the line, if that is what it takes!) the brave initiatives and actions that need to be taken.
If you are an HR leader and reading this, I hope I am nudging you to consider that, however brave you are being, perhaps you could be a little (or a lot?) braver.
Why am I writing this today? Well, recently I read a short report from a top business school Darden at UVA, called “RETHINKING TALENT MANAGEMENT: A BRAVE NEW WORLD“, pdf download here. The conclusion of the report reads (bold highlights added are mine) :
CONCLUSION: BE BRAVE Leaders in talent management have a choice: they can hold on to the past, or they can embrace the new. How does one know when to change and when to stay the course? Here’s one thing we know will be universally true: playing it safe isn’t an option anymore. Organizations are changing too rapidly. In order to keep pace, leaders will need to find the courage to let go of some old approaches and pioneer new ones. Taking an agile approach to innovating and customizing talent programs with the focus on customer needs (employees and leaders) – and not HR needs – is a solid method to enter this brave new world.
This is an excellent report drawn from fifty interviews with key HR leaders, highlighting “big trends” and “big questions”, and looking at what needs to happen to adapt to change.
However, and it is a big “but”, of those interviewed, only between about 10% and 25% of those interviewed are actively taking each of the number of steps enumerated in the report as being needed to address these big trends and big questions.
Those big trends and biq questions are shown below. For more, review the report.
My question today for HR leaders (and resonant for all leaders who see these “big trends” and feel they will inpact their organistion) is simply this.