The Fear Of Failure

“Prescription for success: Drive out fear.”  -W.E. Deming

Fear is a driver.  

It can be used to stretch and push people out of their comfort zone.

Fear is a tool.  

It can be used to hold people down and control them.

When fear exists, it causes anxiety, worry, hesitation, suspicion, and despair throughout an organization.  When fear exists, innovation and change processes are replaced with self-serving mechanisms that support safety and survival.

In a culture of fear…

We are afraid to ask for help.  We are scared to ask questions.  We are fearful of appearing as if we don’t know, if we don’t have the answer.

In a culture of fear…

We don’t step outside.  We learn to manage the same rather than pushing for different.  We keep the walls tight and closed.  We silo ourselves off.

And while we understand that failure is often the great teacher, we avoid it at all costs.

In a culture of fear…

Failure is not tolerated.

1 thought on “The Fear Of Failure

  1. All true, but as an outdoor leader I’ve seen many instances where fear is warranted and useful. Sometimes fear helps to keep us alive – gives us pause to think – to determine the best way to move forward. Sometimes fear is simply irrational and something to be worked through in order to achieve innovation, or improvement or advancement, but it shouldn’t necessarily be seen as mere obstacle that needs to be ignored or overcome.

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