“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” … but at what risk to their careers, will they be rewarded, even if they fail?
Some years ago, I was privileged to work with the newly appointed CEO of a highly innovative start-up bank being created by a multi-national financial services company. He had been plucked from his role as the MD of a successful business to lead this high-risk project. The group CEO asked him to do this personally and made it clear, succeed or fail, this was a positive career move. This encouragement laid the foundations for an extremely successful and innovative new business.
In contrast, I’ve often seen senior executives approach similar roles with some trepidation. Even when it’s their own idea, the risk of being asked to bet their careers is too much. Better to play safe, or at least hedge your bets. This sort of thinking is anathema to innovation.
In order to innovate successfully, an organisation must support its mavericks and risk takers.