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Are Errors of Apathy Eroding Your Organization?
Guest articles > Are Errors of Apathy Eroding Your Organization?
by: Lisa Earle McLeod
If you’re not making mistakes you’re not trying anything new. Yet in many organizations, there’s a greater penalty for errors than for inaction.
The reason is that inaction often goes unnoticed, while errors are front and center. Yet over time, inaction is an insidious error that will eventually erode a culture or a career.
If you want to create a proactive culture, or be proactive yourself, it helps to differentiate between the two kinds of errors:
1. Errors of Enthusiasm
We have a young man who manages our social media. When he first started in
his role, he pushed some of the rules on a few websites, and got his hand
But taking a step back, I realized, this guy is excited, he’s out there, he’s trying to make it happen, we want this kind of energy in our business. Yes he’d made an error, but it was an error of enthusiasm.
He didn’t need a reprimand, just the opposite; he deserved recognition. He had gotten our content into hundreds of new places; a few mistakes were inevitable.
The same approach applies to self-management. If you’ve made an error of enthusiasm, give yourself credit for trying. Berating yourself, or others for every error creates a climate of malaise.
2. Errors of Apathy
These mistakes are harder to spot, but they’re widely prevalent.
For example, the team is in a meeting; the boss puts forth an initiative, and all the heads nod. Well, they mostly nod; if you look closely a few of the nods look more like sideway glances. These are the people who think there’s a problem, but they’re too intimidated to say anything. Instead of voicing their concern, they play it safe and stay quiet.
Another scenario, a manager sees a new business opportunity, she recognizes
that it has some risk. She decides to stay under the radar and not pursue it
because she’s afraid of public failure.
My business partner (also husband) and I were reviewing our financial results for last year. We’d had our biggest year ever. But there were several expensive sales trips that didn’t result in business. My immediate reaction was to say, “Next year, let’s try to avoid that.” He said, “If some of your trips don’t fail, you’re not trying hard enough.”
He’s right. Give your people confidence by telling them up front that you expect a sizable failure rate. In our case it was 20%. This year, instead of trying to reduce the failure rate, we’re focused on increasing the number of times we try.
Eliminate fear and set the expectation that being proactive is rewarded. Make it clear that apathy will not be tolerated. That means calling people out for inaction.
Errors of enthusiasm aren’t fatal. But, over time, errors of apathy can kill you.
Lisa Earle McLeod is a sales leadership consultant. Companies like Apple, Kimberly-Clark and Pfizer hire her to help them create passionate, purpose-driven sales forces. She the author of several books including Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud, a Wiley publication, released Nov. 15, 2012. She has appeared on The Today Show, and has been featured in Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. She provides executive coaching sessions, strategy workshops, and keynote speeches.
More info: www.mcleodandmore.com
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Copyright 2014 Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights
Contributor: Lisa Earle McLeod
Published here on: 15-Feb-15