Leadership Courage: Can You Abandon the Past?
Leadership courage means that your leaders must be brave enough to look at past practices and see new ways of doing things. As a business leader, you might be tempted to continue doing what you’ve done in the past. Tried-and-true routines are safe and familiar, comfortable and comforting. Reliving glory days is practically a human instinct.
Sticking to the past is a surprisingly dangerous proposition. It becomes dull, for one thing, and tedium can lead to premature career burnout. Leadership courage to abandon past practices, on the other hand, can help your company reach it’s full potential while making sure your competitors never get the better of you.
The Best Kinds of Change
Business anecdotes are littered with companies that failed to innovate or that attempted to innovate only after financial crisis struck. By that point, it’s invariably too late. There are dozens of examples of companies that failed to innovate, but just think for a moment about Blockbuster or Toys R Us, neither of which were prepared to abandon the past for the dominance of internet commerce.
Business leaders, in order to be effective, must implement improvements that are calculated to make significant impacts. One secret to designing meaningful, lasting change is to try and imagine which product upgrades, new technologies and extra services would most benefit your customers.
When you look at your business from your consumers’ point of view, it’s easier to figure out which advancements would make their lives more convenient. Detailed customer surveys – or just talking to clients – can help, too.
Change Requires Courage, and Courage Demands Change
Impactful changes necessitate leadership courage and improving on the business history. When you propose a new product line, service, revenue stream or market expansion, you’ll meet resistance. Company executives, investors, stockholders and perhaps some customers will tell you that your idea is reckless or doomed, and those may be the nicest criticisms you’ll hear.
Great leaders mustn’t be afraid to fail. Yes, novel ideas can go down in flames. But when one succeeds, it can triumph beyond anyone’s expectations. Consider how the iPhone transformed Apple in 2007 and how, during the 1970s, running shoes with waffle soles turned a respectable company called Blue Ribbon Sports into a global powerhouse called Nike. These are both clear examples of leadership courage and the ability to abandon the past for something better.
The most skilled corporate leaders take bold leaps, not timid steps. If you have confidence in your audacious plans, you’ll ultimately earn your staff members’ trust. What’s more, they’ll eagerly anticipate other innovations.
A Better Leader, the outstanding online training program for business leaders, describes this type of corporate environment as a “change culture.” It makes for an exciting place to work, one where everyone is ready to trade the well-worn past for a glorious future.