Monday, October 17, 2011

Breaking the Fear Barrier

Beautiful weekend in Long Island this weekend. Cool and perfect for running.

Apparently the weather in Toronto was a bit nasty for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. People have a very small range that they are comfortable. But there is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.

I love CBC but they blew it on the live coverage that they promised. Just did not happen.

I was inspired by Fauja Singh who finished the marathon is 8 hours. He is 100. I best get training now if I am going to beat that. I smiled when I heard that he said "it was one of my lifetime goals".

And following from World Business Forum, Jill Hart posted an article on "Great hiring decisions" on her blog at Brain Logic.

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Occupy Wall Street is on my mind. I am glad it has been peaceful so far.

People are afraid. The problem with fear is it is not actionable. There is nothing you can do with. To harness it requires thought and energy that most people simply do not have since the fear itself saps energy and creativity.

It is a mature person who can sit back and formulate a plan for positively harnessing fear. For me, the first step would be to manage the stress that fear causes.

I am proud to have been a CEO (I even call this blog CEO blog) and now the world seems to be vilifying CEOs. I agree with some of the views put forward (many CEOs are outrageously overpaid). I do not think all CEOs are bad or have bad motives though.

I read a good book on fear in companies - Breaking the Fear Barrier - How Fear Destroys Companies from the Inside Out and What To Do About It by Tom Rieger. Not sure I like such a negative title.

It talks about the causes and damage that fear cause and what to do about it.

According to Rieger fear stems from bureaucracy:

Parochialism - The tendency to force others to view the world from only one view.

Territorialism - Hoarding and micromanaging. In short, not being a team player.

Empire Building - which is self evident.

And fear can be overcome by overcoming those 3 factors and:

Building Courage Enablers (and making sure there are not courage stoppers)

It then goes on to talk about the Leadership Imperative and the Fearless Company.

One great point he makes is "since fear is created internally, it can be extinguished internally".

I like to have a company that has a high tolerance for failure. I always say "fail often, fail fast, fail cheap". Companies that embrace this as a method for innovation and growth need to have people who are not living in fear.

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