Anything could happen and whether or not we act has everything to do with it! Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark
“Three fears hold back corporate innovation more than others: fear of criticism, fear of uncertainty, and fear of the negative impact on one’s career.” McKinsey
McKinsey notes, “We were intrigued to find that the fear of career impact emerged as the biggest differentiator between those who work at top innovation companies and others, being 3.6 times more prevalent. Such worries have predictable consequences. When we believe our decisions can put our advancement or compensation at risk, loss aversion takes the steering wheel and drives us to hedge our bets. This results in employees being reluctant to fully invest (or gamble) their careers on innovation, let alone on a single innovation project.”
This begs the question; how can you create a resilient company that is driving for long-term success if everyone is fearful of innovating or just simply doing the best at their jobs? If they are afraid to come forward with ideas, share challenges, or new ways of doing things, there most certainly is a fear of stepping out on problem-solving and dealing with larger challenges.
How might you turn fear into a useful driver? What strategies would ease the fear of uncertainty which in turn may set your organization back setting up the competition to excel?
Turning fears into opportunities also creates hope vs. desperation and anxiety. How can you ease your customer’s fears and help them turn to hope and opportunity in the future? The world has experienced such unprecedented events so many times (even in my lifetime let alone my parents and grandparents). Just listen to #richardbranson‘s own story to hear how he attacked fear and anxiety head-on to win growth in any economy and #HELP so many others along the way.
We can give up, give in or fight forward. That fight forward driven by hope is more productive and engaging for sure!
Here are a few strategies we use to help our clients channel fear into energy and productivity:
- Create a desire and a methodology to #venturebeyond. This could be gamified to engage teams and individuals to look at what they are most fearful of and lead collaborative sessions monthly (some unstructured and some structured ) to turn those fears into opportunities. Take note of the types and number of fears that are expressed! Capture these across teams. Organize the opportunities list into most interesting to least interesting and have each team pick one they are passionate about working on. This begs to have a process for working on special projects should it be outside of their work responsibilities, however, by allowing for these special projects the organization fosters a culture of creative problem-solving and continuous innovation.
- So many engaging and sustaining growth strategies have come from a simple initiative I call #MyFuture. These are individual essays you encourage the organization to write and reward incentives for the top 3 stories. “Storyifying” futures is important as it allows for different visions and scenarios to come through. The guiding rules are minimal, a. write where you will be in 10 years (10 years is important as it allows for a new future that is harder to imagine than driving an EV or AI taking our jobs)! Writing 10 years out also uncovers longer-term fears but could also showcase ways to be inventive about the future, b. offer a view of what your work will look like in 10 years? What will your company look like in 10 years? c. what is your vision of the world 10 years from now? This could be individual essays but it could also be done in collaborative groups. By stretching the minds of your organization, you stretch the boundaries of what is possible!
By stretching the minds of your organization, you stretch the boundaries of what is possible!
3. Hold monthly #scenariocollaboration sessions. The “#what-ifs” of your business, of your customer engagements, of your people, financials, competition, economy, the geopolitical effects on your business… there are so many what-ifs to consider! What if there is another pandemic worse than covid? What could you do today to prepare for tomorrow’s what-ifs? Customer buying habits are changing dramatically, what if this affects your relationships with your top 10 customers? What can you do today to prepare for attrition and what could you do today that may help prevent the attrition and maybe even grow these VIP customer relationships to be collaborative and #futureforwarding?
4. It’s time to #reimagine your product/service offerings to be relevant in the future. Fear of economic downturn seems to cause a pause in innovation, new product development, and special projects. However, history has proven time and time again, that driving innovation forward may engage your customers more deeply yielding new product ideas that will set your organization up for competitive differentiation. The effort to reimagine your products and services should be managed methodologically. We have tools that can help or you may reach out to discuss in more detail methods we’ve used that have literally turned declining business graphs on their heads into successful growth. Engage your customers at the highest levels and all levels as well as prospective customers. Different perspectives are gold in your future growth hat!
Engage your customers at the highest levels and all levels as well as prospective customers. Different perspectives are gold in your future growth hat!
These are such simple games and strategies but with deep intentions, they are powerful future-guarding tools. Economists’ predictions insight fear! Turn that fear into opportunity.
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