What’s the boldest thing you’ve done in the last month? How about last week? I’m assuming your answer is “I don’t know what you mean by bold”.
You are not alone.
We live in a world where it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize others for trying brave and untried that probably won’t achieve their desired result. This is what most analysts do, and it’s also what most business leaders do; they’re not bold.
Critics, those that only set for opinions and believe that having one is bold enough, are as common as the sun in California. But here’s the truth…
Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid
Take the following critique about Google’s moonshot strategy, the writer believes their Google X division makes them less innovative than they appear because those projects are far from being cash cows:
— Innovations (@innovations) June 16, 2015
Yet, Google is one of the most sought out and admired companies in the world. You know why? Because it’s bold. You can’t keep your eyes away from their audacity, it pulls you in.
It’s no coincidence that Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s advice to Marissa Mayer was to remember to be bold:
“If you really want to create something transformational — if you really want to make a difference in your life and other people’s lives — yes, it’s always easy to take the safer incremental choice and to iterate…But remember to be bold.” – Marissa Mayer
Audacity separates you from the herd
In this world of wide commentary about what one company should or shouldn’t do, brilliant thinking is rare; but courage is in shorter supply. Boldness gives you presence and makes you seem larger than life. For example, everyone talks about innovation but most no one really does anything great; except for a few organizations that are really bold in their ideas and actions.
And, though we tend to focus on BIG ideas as being examples of boldness, small action are also bold. For example, Apple’s obsessive attention to detail leads to making things simple and approachable is being bold.
Because making really good things is difficult — it requires a commitment to craft, an attention to detail, and a love for work that has always been rare. Very few people, and organizations, are committed to this level of detail; because that’s being bold.
The one constant argument about innovation is that it is inherently uncertain. But, innovative leaders understand that the way you deal with uncertainty is by keeping it simple and being bold.
What is VS. What could be
We’re rarely that radical as most of what is created just builds on “what is”. So any talk about leadership, the type that leads to innovation, is a study in being bold. So, the best leadership advice is always going to be that; be bold.
How so? Start by questioning the unquestionable!
Fear of failure keeps people doing things that won’t work forever. Bold leaders know that asking thought-provoking questions is just as important as providing answers. That’s because questions can challenge your thinking and help you come up with new solutions to old problems. So, to begin thinking of what could be you should aim to poke holes in the status quo by reframing your actions.
Cowards think about what might have been. The bold talk about things they tried.
— Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak) May 25, 2015
Bottom line: Timidity is dangerous; better enter with boldness.