I recently read a book titled Exploiting Chaos by Jeremy Gutsche. In the book, Jeremy writes, “If you want to encourage me to create breakthrough innovation, I need to feel protected. I need to know that I am better off trying new ideas and possibly failing than taking on riskless projects.” He concludes, “When people are not failing, they are not innovating.”
Most of us don’t like failure and if we’re leaders we may have a natural aversion to those we lead failing. Now, I’m not talking about someone who fails consistently because of poor decisions, nor am I talking about failure that is absolutely catastrophic. But what I am talking about is encouraging ourselves and those we lead to take risks. To try new ways of doing things. To step out boldly to reinvent systems that are not producing what we hoped for or to make better those that are.
Do the people I lead know that I “have their back?” Do the people I lead swim in a culture where the status quo is unacceptable? Do the people I lead have the freedom to challenge paradigms and accepted philosophies?
At a personal level, am I modeling risk? Am I willing to boldly go where no-one has gone before? When I hear the prompting of God’s Spirit in my life . . . do I follow that leading?
As I read through the Bible, if it were not for those who were willing to follow God, frequently at great risk, then God’s Kingdom would not have advanced.
“Abraham,” God said, “I want you yo go.” “Where?” “I’ll tell you once you’re on the journey.”
“Moses, I want you to lead my people.” “I don’t know how.” “I’ll teach you on the way.”
“David, I want you to go to battle against the giant.” “But I am only a shepherd.” “But I am God and I am on your side.”
At the core of it all, God is on our side. God has our back. The greater risk is in not being obedient to what God is telling us. The greater risk is living a life that never became fully what God intended it to be. The greater risk is being immobilized by fear of failure.