The unthinkable happened. The project failed. What do you do now? Do you play it safe or do you still take the risk and pursue what critics claim is “impossible” ?
Failure often makes disruptive leaders take a step back, recoiling from the sting of disaster, defeat and embarrassment. They once had bold dreams and were willing to take the risk. But now things are different. Everyone knows of their failure and the critics are singing a deafening chorus of “I told you so.”
So what do you do now? Do you downgrade your vision? Or do you double your efforts?
That is often the critical decision in any disruptive leader’s success.
Calculating the Risk
Yesterday Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. His troublesome past was enough for NFL teams to ignore his first round talent in 2010. It wasn’t until the 4th round that New England took a chance on him.
They didn’t take him in the first round because it wasn’t worth the risk. But by the time the fourth round came around, the opportunity was too great to ignore. The risk didn’t seem all that great. No wonder the critics were singing their praises.
What is your criteria for taking a risk that others would not?
A Quick Return on Investment
The risk paid off quickly. Hernandez emerged as a star in his rookie season, helping take the team to the Super Bowl. The next year looked even brighter and, despite a lingering ankle injury, was signed to a lucrative contract extension.
Sometimes the followup action seems safer but hides more risk. Hernandez’s issues didn’t seem to be a problem and, like others before him, Kraft, Belichick and staff seemed to find yet another way to ply their genius with troubled athletes. The risk definitely seemed worth it at that point or New England wouldn’t have made the move. The critics were quiet, many were even singing the praises of New England, lauding them as genius.
Working within your genius reduces the risk and gives you a competitive edge.
Are you calculating the risk based on your genius?
Your Worst Leadership Nightmare
But then the world collapsed. Hernandez was charged with one murder, then another incident emerged and he was charged with two additional ones.
We often don’t see failure coming but we do hear the critic’s voices burst into their favorite version of “I told you so.”
If you are that leader, what do you do now? The 2014 draft is 2 weeks away. Do you play it safe? Do you ignore this year’s version of first round talent that comes with questionable character? Or do you dare drafting another potential star?
Do you play it safe or take the risk?
The Critical Question
Of course this post is not really about the NFL draft but instead about your leadership and your willingness to take a risk that, if it does not work out, could damage your reputation.
Every disruptive leader takes risks that more cautious individuals would not. They are not reckless but know their vision, strategy and genius. They know that risk and failure are part of the process.
Many miss that critical point. Most leaders at some point. The difference is that the disruptive leader reassesses the situation, learns from it and continues in pursuit of doing what critics claim is impossible. That is one way they leverage their power to do the impossible.
Power Tip of the Day: Disruptive leaders pursue the ultimate knowing failure is part of the process.
(c) 2015 Murfield International, Inc.
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I am Dr. Loren Murfield and I work with aspiring and emerging leaders so they can leverage their power to do what followers and critics thought was impossible. Are you tired of the same sights? Are you ready to break through to a new vision? Are you determined to leave your legacy? If so, contact me today.
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