Permission to Fail - Creates Opportunities to
premise that has achieved wide acceptance in Corporate America—as
well as in organizations in general—is that expanding staff
participation in the decision-making process is a good thing. In the
global marketplace, successful organizations must engage in what I
refer to as The Relentless Search for Better Ways. Better ways will
include process improvements, and who better to offer ideas for
improving processes than the people who perform the tasks that
comprise those processes?
All this talk about expanding
participation in the decision-making process and The Relentless
Search for Better Ways calls to mind an important factor in any
successful organization, leadership. Working with clients to develop
their leadership skills has provided me with opportunities to
identify characteristics of effective leaders. Here’s one that I’ve
found essential to facilitating the search for better ways.
Leaders Must Be Willing to Endure Mediocrity
What? you say.
Mediocrity? Why, that flies in the face of everything leaders are
supposed to stand for. OK, I’ll admit that at first glance this does
seem contrary to what we expect from leaders, but I believe it is
most definitely a characteristic that marks a true leader, and
here’s my rationale.
that I didn’t say that leaders should settle for mediocrity, but
that they must be willing to endure it. Leaders encourage
risk-taking by their followers; they empower their associates to
consider and try alternatives to the status quo, and that’s where
the endurance requirement kicks in.
When trying new
approaches, techniques or even new activities, people’s early
performances may be mediocre—at best. Their first few attempts at
those new activities will probably be their worst attempts, but if
their performances are to improve, the performers must persist.
Proficiency is the outcome; practice is the process.
All of us have
set out to master new activities, and for most of us, our initial
performances left a lot to be desired. Walking and talking are just
two examples of this phenomenon. Both activities were difficult for
us all in the beginning, and we’d agree that both are very
important. Happily, most of us got past our early mediocre
performances and today can walk and talk quite well.
The support we
got from the people we looked to for guidance and approval was an
important reason for the progress we made. Parents and other
significant people demonstrated for us their willingness to endure
our early, mediocre attempts at these and many other activities.
They contributed to our success by their willingness to endure our
mediocrity (OK, our failures).
workplace—as in the home—leaders must recognize the important roles
they play in facilitating individual and organizational growth. By
their behavior leaders encourage, inspire and empower others to
challenge the status quo, to consider and try alternatives. Leaders
are willing to endure the mediocrity that characterizes the early
steps toward mastery.
to Fail Creates Opportunities to Succeed.
Bearden has been
inspiring clients to acknowledge and improve the choices they make.
He delivers dynamic programs and facilitates processes that awaken
them to the relationship between personal accountability and
Copyright © 2008 by Jim Bearden. All Rights Reserved.