The fear of success

Many of the start up companies that end up being successful do so because they are willing to take chances. The reason they are willing to take these chances is they have little, if anything, to lose.

Many of the truly outstanding large companies stay that way because they are willing to take chances . The reason they are willing to take these chances is they have a large enough organization that if their risk taking fails, they can survive (or in some of their cases, if they are large enough and still fail, the government will step in to make sure they survive).

The start up can usually only afford one risk at a time they know they are frequently betting the whole organization on this one risk so they throw everything they have into (resources, thought, passion etc).

The truly outstanding large organizations can afford to take more chances because if they take 10 chances (or in some cases 100 chances) and 1 works, it proves to be extremely profitable and more than offsets the other chances that didn’t work out.

It’s the middle type organizations that frequently have a fear from success. While many will say they would like to one of the outstanding organizations, they aren’t willing to take the chances necessary to get to that level. The start up is willing to go “all in” because they don’t have much to risk. The outstanding large organizations are willing to take big chances (but usually not go “all in”) because they have the backing to withstand mistakes. The middle group is too afraid of going back to where they once were that they aren’t willing to take the big risk to get them to the next level. They have too much to start over and not enough to offset a big loss.

The few organizations that have made the transition from this middle group to the outstanding group did so because they were able to think more like an entrepreneur and less like management.

Is it worth it to take the chance to become one of the outstanding organizations? That is a decision that must be made by each organization and each person.

Please understand, I’m not saying that the bigger the organization the better. Some start ups begin bigger than much more successful organizations. A small organization certainly can be a great one and a big organization certainly can be just another failure. This discussion is about success not size.

If you are satisfied being in this middle group, there is nothing wrong with that. However, if your aim is to be in the top group, be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to pull it off.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

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