What constitutes courage in the modern business world? Well, according to Ryan Berman, author of Return on Courage, it all comes down to knowing your personal business model.
“There’s a noticeable deficiency of courage in the business world,” hr told HRD. “It is absent from business models, boardrooms, company cultures, and mission statements. Courageous leadership seems to have taken a sabbatical —and many businesses are far worse for it.
“Most terrifying of all, employees within an organization who aspire to make calculated courageous calls across a company are not getting the opportunity to do so. Their bold ideas are getting squashed along the way or, sadly, they’ve landed in a culture where iterative growth has become the goal throughout the hallways.
“Instead delving deeper about ‘why’ this is our current diagnosis, I’d prefer to simply tap into “how” leaders can help their companies get their courage back. Indeed, unlocking courage, when truly embraced and understood, can be your ultimate X factor and competitive advantage.”
Berman went on to explain the best methods of gaining back your confidence and your courage in today’s hectic, dog-eat-dog, world.
Prioritize your values
“Core values are modern-day rudders of decision-making. Most businesses, of course, have values. Not all are leading through them. Instead, these values are seen memorialized on a lobby wall or collecting dust in an employee manual. Core Values are not eye rolls. They’re how the exceptional roll. Core values help you take a stand in the messy, complication middle of a project.
“How do you know when to take a stand if you don’t know what you stand for? Other companies are honoring a value of a founder that is out of alignment today with the way people truly work, shop and live. Many businesses are missing the mark as to what the next generation truly values. Most must realize that the next generation won’t buy unless they buy in. With thousands of choices at their fingertips, the differentiator is valuing, declaring, and living your distinct core values. The ask? Go back to the basics and make sure you have the right values driving the behavior of your organization.”
“You’ve done the hard work to not only lock in your values, but also lead through them. Living the values at your company makes it easier to swiftly audit who is on your raft and, frankly, who isn’t. Leaders either make believers or fake believers. Fake Believers don't wear a t-shirt around the office that says 'Fake Believer'. They just nod, smile and collect a paycheck. The path to creating a courageous culture runs through a leaders ability to create alignment and genuine conviction for the work you're producing.
“This might be a good time to admit I have a gripe with the word leadership. Don’t get me wrong -- we clearly need courageous leadership now. The problem is poor leaders turn leadership into cheerleadership. They start ra ra’ing to their staff which might work with a portion of your staff, but this behavior is a “no go” with your high producers. Making Believers all starts at the top with what I call your Believership. I prefer “Believership” because it’s not simply the job of one leader. The sole purpose of your Believership is to create Believers in all directions; out of your board, employees, prospects, and customers.”
Commit to a purpose
“Simon Sinek got it right. It’s critical that we do the hard work to get clarity on our why. If I were to add on to this, it’s simply that leaders must make sure they inject a rally cry inside that why. If you want your staff to stick around, you need to find that truthful, purposeful, emotional and differential purpose that makes employees want to come to work everyday.
“You can make a case that there’s no proof that SpaceX will succeed on fulfilling their “rally cry in their why” purpose of creating human life on another planet. But the people who choose to work for Musk are just as excited to be on a cultural rocket ship as much as working on literally rocket ships.”
Educate your action
“Without a doubt, the hardest part of it all is taking action. Remember, you’re never going to have every bit of knowledge served up to you on a silver platter to make a call. If you wait too long, you will most likely get past by a competitor. Trust the knowledge you have, which builds inner belief, to ultimately, help you take courageous action. If we’re going to have a conversation about courage we’re really have a conversation about change.
“Whether change is happening at the innovation level, the culture level or the story level, treat these change opportunities like experiments. Build an Experimental Task Force and, if you’re in a leadership role, grant them time, space and a budget to come back with recommendations on these experiments.”