by Jon Isaacson
Risk of failure is a constant - if there is no risk of failure than there is no challenge and likely no reward worth pursuing.
The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. Mark Zuckerberg
As a follow up to our more extensive treatment of the fear of failure and the practice of personal risk management in the pursuit of growth covered HERE, we share the highlights of how to overcome fear. The psychological term for immobilization due to morbid fear of failure or the unfortunate is called atychiphobia. Are you atyciphobic?
If you are pursuing something that is worthwhile and has the potential for a reward on effort (ROE), then you understand there is no avoidance of risk of failure. You may fear failure, you would be stupid not to, but that fear should not be allowed to be the presiding factor in whether to do or not do something.
Failure is a reality. As a risk factor fear is a speed bump that causes evaluation, but failure by itself is not final unless it is allowed to be. Failure is a part of the growth process that causes smart organizations and individuals to learn while they weave through obstacles in the pursuit of vision expansion. A fork in the road should be a call to identify risk, resource options and develop creative solutions rather than pull the emergency break to freeze all momentum.
You are a smart person, so don't be stupid - you know that positive results are not guaranteed. Every risky venture is a growth adventure and the process will lead us as an organization or individual to learn from the process. The likelihood that we arrive at the destination in precisely the manner as planned is unlikely.
A smart process that takes on risk in the pursuit of growth must include adaptation. Our process, like a vehicle in motion, is easier to steer and adjust as we go. Don't be like the atyciphobics who are still parked in the "safety" of the garage, too afraid to take on the risk that will lead to adventure. Whether for fear of failure or as a protective measure, inaction is often the greatest risk as it will certainly lead to a negative result.
Jon Isaacson is a freelance writer assisting organizations to translate their mission and vision into story. I am a business practitioner who specializes in employee engagement, systems optimization and business development with creative solutions that are grounded in practical applications. In addition to working full time, raising a family and volunteering, Jon writes, speaks and serves as director of local facilities networking group LFMC.
How does one avoid being an idiot in the analysis and conclusions drawn from information gathered? Do not trust anything that one cannot confirm for oneself, right? Under such a premise, one must trust one’s own ability to discern information and draw appropriate conclusions. If one trusts one’s own abilities to filter through multiple points of data and infer correctly from the information drawn from, how consistently can the self-source evaluation be trusted? If one trusts one’s own self some/most of the time this may only be a safe bet some of the time at best. If one trusts one’s own self always, one can safely self diagnose one’s own self as an idiot.
If one does not want to be an idiot by way of self trust, then one may conclude that they should seek out the input and knowledge of others. When wise counsel is sought, one must still, at some point, rely upon one’s own internal discernment abilities to determine whether the analysis performed by others is reliable. Even smart and reliable people have limitations and can be wrong from time to time, so no one person can be trusted 100% of the time. If one trusts others some/most of the time this may only be a safe bet some of the time at best. If one trusts others always, one can safely be diagnosed by others as an idiot.
The only option that remains is a hybrid of the previously discussed options, inform one’s self while learning when to trust the input of others. Yet the paradox continues, can one trust what we ubiquitous analysts call the YOATKTD metric – Your Own Ability To Know The Difference. As it turns out, in the effort to avoid being an idiot, the only options are to trust one's self or to trust others and in the final analysis one very likely will find that there is little than anyone can do to avoid it.
When you have four children, Disney movies come with the territory...all of them. Every now and again, a decent one comes along. Every now and now and again one comes along that is done really well. For those of you that don't have kids and would feel creepy going to a movie theater to watch a children's movie, you may have missed Zootopia.
The brief backstory, there is a bunny, Judy Hopps, that wants to become a police officer. She is idealistic and ambitious but there has never been a bunny police officer on the Zootopia Police Department, her own parents believe the venture is too dangerous and no one believes that she can do it. As most children's stories go, the hardworking dreamer finds a way to achieve her goal, YAY! End of story, the movie is what we all thought it would be, right? Not quite.
Judy Hopps becomes a police officer, there is a big ceremony and this historic first is politically lauded while simultaneously scoffed under the breath of most. Our heroine shows up for duty her first day at the ZPD and while everyone else is assigned to beats that have significance, young Hopps is assigned to lowly parking duty. Her boss, Chief Bogo declares, "Life isn't some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams magically come true, so let it go." Parking duty it is.
I'll try not to ruin the story too much but in short, Judy has a dream that has been laughed at since she was a child and even discouraged by her own parents. Ms. Hopps is able to find a way to achieve her dreams but once she makes it she finds there are still hills to climb if her dream is going to be fully realized. She excels in her original assignment and finds a means to acquire an assignment of significance that also comes with great personal risk. Officer Hopps has some initial success but reaches a point where she is ready to quit until she receives some inspiration and valuable assistance from an unlikely friend. Judy reaches what should be the pinnacle by cracking a case that no one else was able to solve. She is celebrated as a hero she is commemorated by the establishment but also makes a well intentioned blunder. She publicly putts her rabbit foot in her mouth in a big way, which proves to be a mistake that ripples into broad reaching negative impacts. Judy faces new challenges to deepen her understanding of what is important, to restore relationships, to find the resolve to create solutions as well as fight for success in the pursuit of her dreams.
The philosophy of life so often promoted is that of get rich or die trying, when the reality is that the quality of life is a richer pursuit than becoming the next mega millionaire. Regardless of the end goal, the journey to any level of success is not one large hill with an epic battle to the top it is a series of hills with many battles, surviving many deaths and continuing momentum when each sequence reveals a new set of challenges. With Zootopia the takeaway isn't as much the often repeated, if you have a dream you can achieve it but a more apt overview of life where you may achieve it but that doesn't mean the battle is over. Keep doing good things.
How do you respond when mistakes happen?
This video displays three potential responses from managers:
2) Passive Aggressive
We enlist the help of our team of young thespians to demonstrate examples of how management often deals with mistakes and failures.
The policies of the organization should not be used to turn the employee relationship into an adversarial one but should be utilized as an opportunity to develop the team. Managers may inadvertently be aggressive, or may not always recognize when they come across as passive aggressive, but with awareness can turn mistakes into teachable moments.
Remember to manage humans as humans and lead your team towards the larger vision rather than being sidetracked by mishaps or disrupting progress through poor communication.
Video produced with help from @iz_fnb / @thelegitabbie
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Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer