I have a missed over 9000 shots in my career, I have lost over 600 games, on 26 separate occasions I was trusted to take the winning shot and missed. Over and over and over again I have failed. That is why I succeed.
The words of Michael Jordan, the most successful player in the game of basketball, defines success through the lens of failure.
If that is what success looks like in the game of basketball, then each of us ought to be asking ourselves the question, what does success look like in my area of expertise?
Whether at work, at home or in the pursuit of a sport or interest Jordan’s record of success serves as a challenge to each of us to consider how willing we are to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone in order to be better prepared and able to deal with the challenges and opportunities that will present themselves in our career and personal lives.
Managing change is one of the most important skills that we can develop in both the workplace and our personal lives as it would seem that the only constant is change.
Increasingly we hear that we are living in a VUCA world with much volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity; therefore, preparing ourselves to survive in this world will become more and more important to our success.
Embracing change; however, is not just about building the skills but more importantly about our willingness to take risks. We must also develop the capability of assessing and taking risks that are appropriate
It is our attitude to risk that helps us to have the courage to embrace change and create new environments
A useful tool to consider to help us gauge the level of risk we are willing to take is a model that was designed by one of our colleagues Susan Scott. It is called the decision tree.
The model uses the metaphor of a tree to identify those decisions we are willing to delegate to others as we empower them to work on our behalf.
There are some decisions that we are happy to fully delegate to our employees without them even needing to notify us that the decision has been made an improvement. Those decisions we give complete levels of autonomy too our people and we call leaf decisions.
The next set of decisions of those that we are willing to delegate to members of our team; however, we ask that they keep us informed that the decisions have been taken and implemented. These we call branch decisions.
There are a third group of decisions that we call trunk decisions and again we delegate to members of our team but we ask them not only that they would keep us informed but that they would involve us in the decision-making process and ask for our input before deciding on how they should be made.
Finally we have root decisions. These are of those decisions that have higher levels of complexity and sensitivity and we instruct our employees to delegate back to ourselves as the level of complexity or sensitivity is particularly high.
This decision tree approach to risk-taking and delegation within our departments and also within our lives outside of work is a useful guide to help us identify the level of risk that we are willing to take particularly when we are working through others.
In the important world of managing change in order to push ourselves and others beyond the limits of where we currently operate, we ought to be inspired by sporting icons like Michael Jordan in taking on challenges and recognising that in order to be really successful we have got to be willing to take risk and allow ourselves and others to fail along the way.