Stop CYA and Be Bold. You Will Be Thanked.
Recently, I was discussing with a colleague of mine the state of affairs at companies that we used to work with and for and we found some interesting parallels: in most of the larger companies, no matter what the industry, there seemed to be a common thread:
- People sent an inordinate amount of time “covering their asses” – basically generating paperwork and other “evidence of industry” that they were working, other than actually working
- Very few people took on responsibility and made decisions, for fear that they would stick out and either be reprimanded or fired.
In short, we concurred that in a lot of companies, innovation aside, the culture were so risk averse that timidity was the order of the day – people would much rather ask and get permission first before implementing anything – yes, not even incremental innovation and small process improvements, lest something goes wrong and they are blamed for it.
Timidity, not boldness, is the order of the day.
Funny thing, though. If we, in our respective teams and groups, ever actually decided to step up and BE BOLD – took responsibility, actually made decisions, were accountable, stuck our necks out, instead of being slammed down, we were applauded.
People were desperate for someone, anyone, to step up and throw the first stone – to be the trailblazer, to be the one that steps up and takes control, to be bold. I’ve done it a number of times now and you know what – it’s never a negative thing – I’ve always been lauded and applauded.
Sure, there are always naysayers, but they usually get drowned out by the cheering of those who were looking for someone to step up.
Be that person. Be the one who steps up. Be BOLD!