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  • Writer's pictureMarc Hogan


When JFK, famously stated “In the Chinese language, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity,” He may have not been totally correct, Wēijī is more accurately translated as a dangerous movement, a time when things go awry.

The last year things have certainly gone awry.

On the whole, human nature has a need for comfort, low risk and security. Human nature is not to seek out discomfort and change. We don’t do scary if we can avoid it – but in today’s world it’s become almost a necessity in order to survive. We have to make that dangerous move.

So what is “scary”? Twelve months ago it could have been that first Zoom call from the improvised office at home - actually turning the camera on! Today one year on it's bigger than that.

Scary is how to survive – how to move forward. I think we all must conclude, vaccine or not that things “will never be the same again”.

The future cannot just be survival though, we still must move forward. We crave the comfort and stability of the known. As we grow older we lose the bravery that we had as children - how scary was it to learn to walk, to learn to run, to learn to ride a bike - as children we embrace– as adults we avoid.

Let us move dangerously. Companies all over the world are considering changes they have made initially as a stopgap becoming permanent - fundamentally changing the way we work.

Will this be good? I think it will. History has shown us that challenge, conflict, and discomfort lead to innovation.

A recent IBM study found that the Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated digital transformation by 59% in the organisations it surveyed, with 66% saying they have been able to complete initiatives that previously encountered resistance.

So how do you motivate your staff, inspire them to initiate the change that we need if we are to work in this Brave New World?

Let them make mistakes and let them learn from them. As a coach, one of the biggest issues I see is that employees fear they will get into trouble if they make a mistake, so they stick with what they know, stick to the tried and tested. Its much easier and financially safer for them!

Companies often inadvertently quash innovation for fear of mistakes by punishing, belittling, micromanaging or over reacting and as a side effect, they limit their agility in an ever changing world.

Over the past 15 years running my business I've made hundreds of mistakes, large and small. All of them I've learnt from. It's just as important to reflect on our mistakes and our failures as it it is our successes.

Speaking is scary. Standing on a stage in Edinburgh, trying to be funny is absolutely terrifying and I made mistakes – but I learnt. Companies must learn to live with potential failure if they are to learn and improve.

Let’s nurture our staff to be brave, take risks and make that psychologically dangerous move it's the only way we will ensure survival and success.

If you are interested in having me speak at your next online event or would like some one on one or group coaching please get in touch.

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