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Creating a “Culture of Courage” By: Bob Rupp
The experts say that the most successful organizations are ones that have created a “Culture of Courage.” Winston Churchill once said that courage is the first of all virtues because it is the only one that guarantees all others. Courage is also what it takes to set a bold course for you and be decisive in times of uncertainty.
Back in 2014, Author Margie Warrell wrote an article for Forbes Magazine on the topic of Courage. She observed that in today’s accelerated and uncertain times, courage is the most valuable attribute for living a successful life.
So how do we as leaders develop a passion for taking bolder and braver actions that help us become world class in our business and create the best versions of who we can be personally as well? It begins by creating and feeding a “Culture of Courage”.
There are countless books that talk about taking smart risks however there are very few that get to the heart of what holds the vast majority of us back from putting their convictions and their reputation on the line in order to help make their organizations and themselves truly great.
The reality is that fear drives people to shore up what they want to protect, rather than to go after what they want. During times of rapid change and challenging conditions, our anxiety levels tend to go up and our appetite for risk tends to go down. Yet these are the exact times when bold actions will get us our greatest rewards vs avoiding the risks which will actually weaken our position.
So with that in mind, how can you create a Culture for Courage in your organization?
Warrell’s suggestion is very simple…… Lead from a position of possibility not probability. It is easy to focus on what is directly ahead; to live from a place of probability. But it takes courage to shift beyond what you can see and to dream about what could be possible. Unless you can move beyond that you won’t inspire yourself, much less anyone else.
In any area of your life in which you lack a clear vision of what you want, you will end up navigating without an internal compass. Sometimes the right path to take is to go straight up the hill, but how would you know if you aren’t sure where you want to go? When you’re focused only on what’s directly ahead, you limit yourself to options that are safe and certainly not “breakthrough” in nature. But if you lead from a position of exploration or “what if” and what could be possible, then the sky is the limit.
When Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I have a dream” speech, he inspired millions to take a stand for something far bigger than what they what they could see in front of them. He wanted them to be courageous in imagining and believing in what could be possible. It was his willingness to put his beliefs on the line and that courage ultimately inspired and convinced others to launch one of the most courageous movements in history.
So in the next step of your journey, consider what it will take for to grow a “Culture of Courage”. Challenge yourself and your team mates to begin to dream about what can be possible and be willing to be impatient about not getting there fast enough.
When you are willing to do that, you will have any easier time convincing others that having a “Culture of Courage” will be the key to achieving long term success for the future. Ultimately, this is the space where the rewards, fun, and personal fulfillment will be achieved for everyone.