Lack of Courage is Killing Your Business

POST DATE Oct 31, 2016

AUTHOR Udo Jahn

Every once in a while, which lately is more often than expected, I come across an article that makes me really pause and think. In this case, the article in question struck me square in the face with the ‘hammer of truth’. Usually I don’t take reports by large organizations too seriously because they come seem watered down and not as hard-nosed on issues as they should be. This report came out from Deloitte, and although I have not read many reports from them, this one really got my attention. The report was titled The future belongs to the bold - Canada needs more courage. Please Google it as I think you’ll also find it an interesting read.

The study they released used Canadian companies, but I believe their findings can be applied to everyone. 

Right now, baseball playoffs are in full swing. I must say that I don’t watch baseball very often during the season, however, playoffs are a different matter, especially when a team close to home is playing. One of the words you often hear being yelled is—Safe! It is an extremely important word in the sport, and referees and announcers yell out the word to make it even more impactful. I think we can apply this word in the same way to many businesses running out there.

The interesting statistics presented in the report show that 44 percent of the respondents believed they had a courageous company, and in fact, did not at all. I think that many of you are nodding your heads right now, because you also see this in the businesses you are in, as well as the businesses you deal with. The businesses that think they are courageous and making bold changes are not. Most of them are people who put their toe into a cold lake and think they have gone for a swim. Nice try, but that is not courageous. Jump in naked. Now that would be courageous.

Many companies do not know that risk and courage go together, and without risk, you are not courageous at all. The Deloitte report goes into a lot of detail and reveals that 69 percent of the courageous companies (those that in fact made bold courageous changes) saw revenues rise last year when things were not going well with their competitors. But okay, if you think buying a photocopier applies as courageous, have at it!

I do not want to go through the report in detail since you can read it for yourself (and I encourage you to do so). But to me, courageous means you take risks, albeit calculated risks. (Buying a photocopier does not qualify!) What qualifies as true risk is making bold changes that you believe will make your company more productive and competitive for now and in the future. In fact, I’d have to say that trying to improve your business by purchasing a new photocopier is merely looking at the freezing water, it’s not even a toe dip.

The problem lies in the fact that many companies are comfortable where they are at. When there is adversity they believe it is easier to maintain the status quo instead of making changes that would make them better. How many companies do you know that could have been saved— and even very successful—had they been courageous and taken some risks in the face of economic adversity. I know a whole bunch. They would be here today and flourishing. Instead they are what I like to refer as “Roadkill on the Economic Highway.”

Some of you reading this right now are probably working for organizations that have taken the non courageous route or know of companies that just can not make the courageous changes necessary for their long term survival. It truly is a shame. Reading the Deloitte report is a good start to changing that mentality. In the end, more success will come to those individuals or organizations that have courage to start embracing a change for the better. If not, then there will be consequences to not having courage.

“Don’t let fear kill your organizations!”

Author: Udo Jahn

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