In Change, Leaders, Strategy

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” – Erich Fromm

One of the more common reasons I hear from leaders for why their organizations haven’t made a particular change or engaged in some particular strategy is that “We’re just not sure.” As humans I think we’re wired to want some level of certainty. We want to make the choice that we’re positive will turn out to be the right one. We want to take the path that definitely leads to success.

The reality, of course, is that there is almost never such a thing as “positive” or “definitely”. As much as we’d like to be 100% sure or we’d like our product to be 100% ready or we’d like to 100% guarantee a result, we just can’t. And while that’s probably always been true, it’s especially true in the rapidly changing, chaotic world we currently live in.

Stop trying to be perfectly sure before you act. Stop trying to analyze until you find the guaranteed to succeed solution. Stop waiting for the perfect time. The truth is that your organization has to change, has to adapt, has to grow. Better to be 75% sure and execute like crazy than to wait for a 100% that will never come.

Look at how you make decisions in your organization. Are you endlessly debating the same things over and over again? Do you talk about opportunities and barriers, and then 5 years later find yourself still talking about those same things? While it doesn’t mean you’re unique, it does mean you have a problem. At some point you have to just go. You can’t wait for perfect.

Think about yourself as a leader. Are you encouraging people to find a solution and go with it? Or are you encouraging them to never quite commit unless they’re guaranteed to succeed? Think about the change culture you’re leading. Is it about making things happen? You have to be OK with not being certain, and you have to make sure others are OK with it too. Start today.

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