11 Ways BigCo Trailblazers Lead with Courage in the Face of Uncertainty

May 29th, 2019

The Courageous Minds Only Community is a safe space for entrepreneurial BigCo leaders to network, learn, and seek inspiration to solve their biggest challenges. Over the past month, the movement grew in Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, New York City, and Columbus after we hosted Courageous Minds Only Chats in each of the cities.

We heard battle-tested stories and lessons from trailblazers at KIND International, Citi FinTech, Post Consumer Brands, Paycor, Estée Lauder, Pfizer, Nationwide, and more. When asked about how they lead with courage in the face of uncertainty, 11 themes remained prevalent among all of their answers.

Embrace Curiosity and Conviction for What’s Next 

Put yourself out there to discover what’s next, hustle to lean into that curiosity, and make changes happen.

Invite the Ambiguity of Innovation

Throw yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable, embrace humility and vulnerability, and ask “Why?” more often. Change creates discomfort, yet opportunity, and leads to growth for everybody.

Always Take the Risk

If you want to eliminate all uncertainty, then you’re never going to get started. Take risks as often as possible; you’ll never regret them, no matter the outcome. From a leadership standpoint, make sure to reward your team for taking risks, whether or not they are successful.

Expect and Accept Failure

Let go of the concept of perfectionism because failure is inevitable. However, your mistakes don’t need to be considered failures if you learn from them. What can you do differently the next time around?

Innovate Within Barriers

Place small bets, then use the results from the small bets to make bigger bets.

Place the Consumer at the Core

Knowing that you operate on behalf of your consumers, if you don’t change, you don’t serve your consumers well. Let every single one of your decisions be informed by your consumers. If you’re in need of inspiration, get closer to your consumers.

Gain Support Along the Way

Sell your decision makers along the way. That way, when you’re ready for the official pitch, the leadership team already knows what’s coming and all you need to do is make the specific ask. The more you can position your solution as one of your consumers’ needs, they’ll advocate for you. If you’re met with objections, remember that it’s not an opportunity to speak up, it’s an obligation.

Foster Diversity of Thought

Cultivate a team of individuals who think and approach situations differently. The traditional marketers are still valuable to have, but mix in some entrepreneurs and artists. This unique combination of people will naturally foster diversity of thought as they challenge one another and build off of the ideas brought to the table.

Communication is key when managing diverse teams. Bold ideas need be met with bold conversations.

Let Your Data Speak

Support your courageous efforts with data. If the data disproves your own point of view, consider adjusting your original decision.

Act like an Owner

When you’re able to connect a personal interest to the impact your team or organization is making, you become an owner of your work, resulting in more courage, passion, and consistency.

Seek Your Inspiration Fuel

When you lose your spark, how do you reignite the fire? Try surrounding and fueling yourself with positive people, and always returning to your “why” of driving change. Everyone seeks inspiration in different ways; find yours.

Learning from others’ battle-tested stories and lessons is valuable, but in order to impact your organization to move faster and smarter, you have to start making changes, small or big, in your own life, team, or greater organization. What will you do tomorrow to lead with courage in the face of uncertainty?

Thank you to the Courageous Minds Only Communities in all six cities for boldly inspiring one another to continue changing the BigCo landscape. More Courageous Minds Only Chats to come this fall!

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