The You Experiment: Taking Risks on What Others Don’t See
“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one has ever thought”
– Albert Einstein
If we think of leadership as a science, we can begin to think of ourselves as creative experimenters who are eager to try different things. Einstein once said, “no amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
We have to be willing to experiment in our leadership roles and allow ourselves and others to fail so that we can all learn from our errors. Progress is only made from the ability to try something new and to learn from its failure. We sometimes limit ourselves from experimenting because of the fear of getting it wrong. But don’t forget, as mentioned in my previous entry, that fear stifles creativity and stalls success.
To quote Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras from the book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, “staying in the comfort zone does little to stimulate progress.” In the book they examine the bold moves of companies like Boeing and Disney and how the leaders behind these companies were able to see opportunity where others saw defeat.
Boeing’s first attempt at an airplane was a failure and the company diversified in other areas, literally making furniture in order to keep the company afloat while working on the mission of developing a bigger faster and more advanced aircraft.
Disney, in 1934 set forth to make its first full length animated film, Snow White. As a new venture, this could have been potentially disastrous as it required a lot of Disney’s resources and a significant financial commitment. Obviously, the decision to make the film was a good one as Disney has dominated the animated movie market for decades.
We see time and time again that taking risks, and thinking outside the box is often rewarded. Just look at the creation of Google, Facebook, Twitter… and even Dyson vacuum cleaners. These companies were founded by ideas that went against the grain and experimented with taking risks.
Are you willing to take the risk?