Why are we so full of restraint?
Why do we not give in all directions?
Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.
Pick your word.
That is what business has become.
Yeah. I know. Harsh.
Go boldly is just not a phrase you hear often in business anymore.
Not even whispered.
Not even kiddingly.
Instead we use words like ‘managing risk’ or ‘planned change’ or “restrained response is necessary” or “we need to follow the process” or … well … any other chicken shit scared-to-do-what-needs-to-be-done word or phrase.
Now. To be clear.
Everyone talks about being brave — “let’s be bold”. Yeah. Everyone sits in meetings and waves their hands enthusiastically or look around sternly making statements and actually talk about bold thinking and bold moves and, well, being bold. Attend any planning meeting or transition meeting or change meeting, in fact, pretty much any meeting in a business office and at some point someone will throw the ‘let’s be bold’ card out onto the table.
What happens next?
Everyone looks as Bold sits there on the table within the reach of anyone. Sitting there on a plate like everyone’s favorite donut .. all the while everyone looking at it is on a diet.
Oh, so tasty.
Oh, I can’t touch it.
This most typically happens in some snazzy meeting room and when someone starts talking about the direction of the business and change, but it also comes up when talking about some new initiative, some new ‘creative thinking’ or … well … anything that may appeal to younger employees or anyone who truly wants to do something good, or spectacular, on the business.
Conceptually … the desire is there. So why is there no real bold behavior?
We are in a mamby pamby business world.
We are in a ‘let’s stick with the tried & true <safe> to maintain whatever growth we just celebrated in our last meeting” <which was most likely really crappy but justified by a verbal ‘better than the competition’> world. We are in a “let’s be edgy but don’t scare off any potential customers” <which those people most likely aren’t a viable revenue stream anyway> world.
Unfortunately for these spineless shits sitting around conference tables … reality in today’s business world is that we are actually in a “smart bold actions at the smartest time” <but … uhm ,.. apparently no one is smart enough – bold enough? – to identify the smart time>.
We are now living in a “rationalize minuscule change as bold actions’ business world. It is demoralizing as well as a less than effective business strategy.
All that said.
This lack of boldness strikes deepest during transitions and change. And I can logically explain why.
Change in business scares the shit out of any manager & leader.
It scares the shit out of 99% of business people <mostly the older more experienced>.
Yeah, yeah, yeah … change sounds great, but in practice it is a shitload like chaos. You plan, but as soon as transition hits its full stride the plan is … well … no longer a plan.
Ok. It is the remnants of a plan.
This means many managers are left with scraps of a plan in their hands and this means that many managers are left to make their own decisions and left to their own devices. This also means that many managers find out they are gutless chicken shits.
Why do I say that?
In their minds ‘go boldly’ is defined by “implement the plan.” Boldly implement the plan to the nth degree.
Without a plan? The cold fear of the unknown and being unsure freezes boldness.
We have become a business world of wimps.
And this lack of a bold muscle can cost you in a variety of ways.
If you do not go boldly you will not only never find success, frankly, you will also ever find “you”, as in yourself, as in “what I am capable of.”
By the way … bold does not mean ‘stupid’. Bold simply means attempting to control your destiny – your personal one and your business one. And in doing so … well … you are letting the chips fall as they may by managing the chips as well as you can.
In Greek this is called Kairos. Kairos is the ability to adapt to and take advantage of changing circumstances.
And how does this relate to ‘be bold’?
Well. Kairos suggests that fate has a whole array of possibilities to shove your way – not just one in particular. Uhm. That means, if you buy that thought, depending on what you do and how you act and what you say … uhm … Fate just may end up offering you a possibility other than what it thought it was going to offer you a moment ago. This also suggests some boldness increases the odds in your favor with regard to fate. I personally do not think this is ‘fate favors the brave.’ I believe it is less about bravery and more about simply boldly acting upon what your experience suggests is the way to go as a way of managing your Fate.
I could argue that 90%+ of business people do not balk at the idea of ‘being bold’, but balk at actually being bold.
I could argue that the % may even go up higher during business transition <change> times.
Yeah. Even with a real challenge and the authority and space to operate “bold” is unfortunately very very low on the list of business behavioral attitudes.
What is high on the list?
“Restrained response” …
I have one word for you.
“Restrained” is for all the fucking wimps.
We need more smart bold non-wimps in today’s business world.
We need less chicken shit, scared to move, business managers and more bold managers who seek possibilities with a 360 degree view … without restraint … and the desire to do the right smart thing in any direction.
Lastly. Better than any whizbang cultural “happiness mojo” initiatives, being bold, embracing bravery within the business actions, will increase the energy of the organization, attract young people & increase overall productivity as well as engagement (which is the real prize in a business).