Leaders that take chances are exciting to be around. Leaders that encourage risk-free entrepreneurship, without penalty if an idea fails, create workplaces that have people scratching at the door to get in.
Risk-free environments and creative environments can often times be interchangeable terms.
Imagine for a minute that you ran a technology company a little over a decade ago. A couple of young people walk into your office and ask for $100,000 to start something based on a program called “BackRub”. They explain to you that BackRub is a search engine.
Stop right here and really ask yourself what you would say? Really. Forget that the title of this post is “Leaders Encourage Risk-Free Entrepreneurship”. I want your honest answer.
You would probably say as you channel Jackie Gleason/Ralph Kramden, “Get out!”, with your finger pointed toward the door.
As you sit back down behind you desk you would probably be muttering about the name BackRub and go back to doing whatever you were doing before the interruption.
I mean, come on, BackRub? What could a name like that possible mean to the marketplace? Heck, why not name it after a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. That word is “googol”.
You are onto to me, aren’t you?
This little tale is indeed a modified version of the creation of Google, Inc. See http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/company/history/
Truly think about this story as it relates to what your reaction would be if one of your team members walked into your office and pitched a similar idea. If you were the person behind the desk back in 1998, would Google exist today? Would we have the vernacular to “Google it!” when it comes to answering a question?
Think of the bar arguments you would have caused!
Unfortunately, the behavior of taking risks is removed from our thinking somewhere along the way in our childhood.
Sir Kenneth Robinson http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/ is a leading critic of how education stifles creativity.
“Creativity is not some exotic, optional extra. It’s a strategic issue,” said Sir Ken in a Fast Company Magazine article “So what people are faced with is having to think very different about how to run organizations.” http://www.fastcompany.com/1764044/ken-robinson-on-the-principles-of-creative-leadership
As a leader, you might be cheating your team members out of a chance to invent the next Google for your industry. It might be a new way to teach an autistic child. It could be a new banking product. It could be an app to connect smartphones users to your business.
If you don’t leave room for creativity and make your environment risk-free, you may be rowing your boat with one oar. (If you don’t know what that means, head on out into the middle of a lake and try rowing with a single oar in the water. See you around.)
Be the leader that encourages risk-free entrepreneurship. All the other leaders will be jealous. Your team will probably buy you coffee more often. Folks will say things like, “She/He is so creative.”
Discuss these questions in the Comments section below:
How can you allow a more risk-free entrepreneurial to exist within team? Was your creativity worked out of you as a child or does it still exist? How do you get in touch with your creativity?