Lack of Courage to Go on the Offensive, Triggered by the Manager's Innate Fear of Failure

Courage is the act of determination in a specific situation. It becomes a character trait only if it becomes a mental habit. Intellect in itself is not courage. There are ample numbers of brilliant managers who simply do not have what it takes to recognize that “speed and impetus” are essential elements for timely and appropriate actions.

It is for you to arouse the inner feeling of courage. Then act. You will have to face the critical moments when reason is pushed aside and replaced by the awful feelings that creep into your mind and take control of your actions.

That is where training, discipline, and experience kick in to overcome those feelings. Keep in mind, too, that you are in a contest of mind against mind; your mind pitted against the mind of a competing manager who may be challenged by similar emotions. You want to be the one who prevails and moves forward.

Consider the extraordinary success of Google Inc. Much has been written about the bold and iconoclastic approaches that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin exhibited when they started operations in 2000. Even then, they showed their bravado by going against the sage advice of seasoned consultants and analysts who advised selling out for a mere pittance during those early days.

Industry watchers saw the behavioral patterns surface again as the search giant quietly acquired a mobile-phone software company and began making forays into the instant messaging, Wi-Fi Internet, and telephony businesses. Where, then, does courage come in?

First, to maintain leadership in its existing business, Google has to keep innovating as the likes of Microsoft and Yahoo! actively search for competing market positions. Next, it takes serious doses of courage to enter new markets that are well protected by such giants as eBay, Motorola, SBC Communications, and Verizon. Initially, Google had to play catch-up in those fields just to get a foothold. Then, it had to find ways to carve out new or unserved market niches, or enhance its position with unique applications of technology.

The decision can never be reached too soon to suit the winner or delayed

long enough to suit the loser.


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