You Took a RISK….Fantastic!!

TAKE RISKS

In one of my previous blog posts you will recall my recent attempt at roller skating (https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/office-roller-skating-instructors/)

As I look back on that memory, I can vividly recall the difference in skating standard between myself (a hesitant, stumbling, novice) and that of my instructor (graceful, impressive, stunning…and yes…that rather magnificent short flappy skirt, not that I really noticed, well, maybe just a little….)

Both of us had the same type of roller skates, we were on the same skating rink, the same skating ambition not to fall over, but our skating performance skills were noticeably different! Why…well, it’s called experience. My skating experience was one lesson, her experience was extensive and it showed. But, her skating prowess didn’t happen quickly, it took many years of practice, learning, taking risks, and being prepared to occasionally fail and have that embarrassing moment of falling over and landing on her bottom.

In the corporate office, the prospect of failure isn’t really encouraged. The environment is very risk adverse, in fact, most of us are too scared to explore new ideas, particularly our managers, just in case they don’t work. It’s no wonder that innovation and creativity is stifled, or on the verge of becoming non-existent!

However, to build a corporate risk-taking environment that is effective, it needs to start at the top. A culture must develop that says…”it’s ok to fail..in fact, it’s ok to fail quite a few times…just keep working your innovative idea and eventually you will succeed and more importantly…learn”. Of course there are many caveats and T&Cs associated with this comment, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to work in an organization that encouraged you to take risks and stuff up occasionally along the way!?

Why doesn’t the CEO of your organization share with you some of their personal failures, and their learnings from those experiences? If they haven’t had any failures, does that mean they were too scared to take any risks, or did the organization not let them do so? If that’s the case, I suspect you might be working in rather a boring and conservative company so it might be time to get out before you also becoming branded with the concept that innovation lethargy is the norm and acceptable behavior!

Most companies have a corporate newsletter that is circulated internally to all employees highlighting various business successes that have occurred over the last few weeks or months. Why not include a section that highlights people in the business that had the courage to try something new, something innovative, and if it failed, get them to explain their learnings from the process. These people need to be encouraged and to be given public recognition. By doing this, others will also see that it’s ok to try something new and bold.

Why not add an innovation component into your employee’s performance goals for the year? Now this would create a vastly different mindset in the management structure as I suspect that most managers wouldn’t know where to start in this process? One option could be to provide all managers and employees with an “Innovation 101” type course that provides the basics in brainstorming and creativity techniques to make people think that little bit differently (PS: If you need a hand in doing this, let me know!)

The corporate office should be fun, exciting and have a culture that promotes innovation. Afterall, we spend most of our lives at work…so make it a place that you want to be at and more importantly….enjoy!

Office Roller Skating Instructors

skates

Last night I experienced something that I hadn’t done for quite a long time….yes, I went roller skating! It was a successful encounter, mainly because I didn’t fall over and I remained vertical throughout the whole activity, apart from landing rather heavily on my bottom when I transitioned from the rink to the external carpeted area in the viewing area…but thankfully, I don’t think anyone noticed!

What was the secret to my success? My delightful and charming instructor who I must admit provided me with the confidence and inspiration to do it. The key was to not focus on the mechanics of the actual roller-skating activity, but rather to “get into the groove and rhythm” of the gliding encounter. Once I started to change my mindset and “let go of my inhibitions”, the whole experience became really quite enjoyable. However, I was brought down a peg or two in my perceived self-brilliance when my instructor whizzed past me at top speed backwards whilst balancing on one skate! Maybe I’ll try that in my second lesson? (Or is that my twenty-second lesson!!)

This got me thinking. When we are in the corporate office, how do we cope with those awkward and rather stressful situations? Most of us tend to focus on all the potential negatives that cause our inhibition levels to dramatically increase thereby impacting our ability to perform at the required level. For me with roller skating, prior to be entering the rink, I was thinking about the various injuries I might experience such as broken bones, pulled muscles, and my biggest concern being severe embarrassment!

One potential solution in the corporate office is to have an “instructor” that walks around the building offering support and advise to those in need? They may not want to be dressed like my roller skating instructor who was adorned in a rather short and impressive flappy skating skirt, but something more corporately appropriate would suffice. But they do need to have a personality that enlists confidence in those that they talk to so they can readily overcome their concerns, and to just be there to offer a “helping hand” when required.

So next time you are walking the corridors within your office with any self doubt, may I suggest you keep an eye out for any helpful “instructors” that may be “gracefully skating” past you! If you do see them, don’t be scared to shout out and seek some help and experience so you can perform with greater confidence and ability.

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