A fear of failure translates into readily identifiable management and organisational behaviours that reduce speed and increase the likelihood of poor performance, including:

  1. Seeking more senior sign-off and approval for virtually all decisions, including relatively minor ones;
  2. Demanding increasingly detailed financial forecasts and justification for any investment;
  3. Scaling down the forecasted benefits, and increasing the costs, of any new initiative, to ensure that it does not appear too optimistic;
  4. Establishing committees to vet and approve new growth projects, rather than relying on single-point accountabilities; and
  5. Rewarding managers – both through financial rewards and career progression –solely on results and ignoring critical behaviours, such as their willingness and ability to develop and try new ideas at speed.

Which of these behaviours does your organisation display? And what steps can you take to change them?

© Stuart Cross 2013. All rights reserved.