Gen. Stanley McChrystal. BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward. They have sparked some spirited discussions with crisis communications and leadership experts. How could savvy, high-visibility pros go so wrong?
Clearly, they both would have benefitted from a little more aiming and a lot less firing. But it would be a shame if our only lesson from their stunning blunders is to be afraid to take a risk.
Professional advisors are by nature risk-averse. Most of us were trained analytically. We want predictable, accurate results most of the time. It’s what clients pay us for.
But what if what we really need to do—sometimes—is to fire first? Interpreting a highly technical IRS guideline might not be the place to experiment. But choosing to stop working on—or delegating—a predictable (yet mind-numbing) revenue stream to create white space could be just the ticket.
Forging new territory never comes with a money-back guarantee. So yes, learn from the gaffes made by the warrior and the CEO. But don’t let it rob you of the courage to take a calculated risk.
Ready. Fire. Aim. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing.