Thoughts on Courage

I am so inspired by the courage I see every day recently in front-line workers—the doctors, nurses, grocery store checkout clerks, police officers, etc.  I am also in awe of the bravery and courage of our military personnel.  Courage drips off these people.  I also inspired the people I serve and many of my clients who have really stepped up and demonstrated immense courage and leadership.  It seems like a crisis can bring out the best in people.

With business significantly changing and the ‘new reality’ is completely unknown, courage and trust are so needed today. Our staff needs our leadership and support—which especially now, can take incredible courage to step up and provide leadership to drive our companies forward.

Courage is a combination of knowledge, faith, and action.  We need all three—two without the other generally doesn’t work.   A project team with knowledge and faith gather the data—they know it’s going to work—but without action, it’s paralysis by analysis.  We all suffer from this.  We need to have the facts and believe what in what we’re doing, but we need action to bring the goal, project, or initiative to completion.  However, action and faith without knowledge is generally stupid and short-sighted.   And knowledge and action can work together, but if there isn’t faith in the idea or project, it won’t sell well or create enthusiasm among staff and clients/customers.  We need all three to exercise real courage.

Courage is such an important attribute in our business’s success.  Companies are already perishing at an unbelievable rate – 52% of the Fortune 500 from 2000 to today are gone. (Yes, some through acquisition, but many are outright gone.)  Somewhere the balance of knowledge, faith, and action failed.   This a is scary fact, but learning from it gives companies an opportunity to be different and thrive.

What got us here won’t get us there.  We need to continually work for tomorrow developing ourselves and our teams and mustering the ongoing courage to drive our companies forward, try new things, and learn from mistakes.

We all fear change. We’ve been brought up to keep “safe.”  And indeed, we need to practice safety on practical levels, especially now. But like a caterpillar that eventually turns into a butterfly, we cannot stay cocooned in the “safety net” of how we’ve always done things while the world drastically changes around us.

Here’s to the courage we are seeing, and the courage we are trying to muster up. Our companies, our staff, and our world need it.