Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Courage is what next month's Fast Company (as always, you need the subscriber code from inside the magazine to read the articles) is all about.  While I can't access all of the articles yet, I can give you a sneak preview of some of the questions that they asked to various leaders regarding courage.  Questions from the article and some answers from me:

What Is Courage?

It's the willingness to shoot from the hip and even go so far as to follow Ross Perot's "Ready. Fire. Aim" methodology.  But more than just going with your gut, it's the emotional energy that you put behind the gut-driven decision.

How do you decide what's bold and daring versus just damn stupid and reckless?

Use your best judgment.  Experience and background and learning all play a part in the decision.

Can bravery be learned? Or is it genetic?

You are what you are.  Just like in the answer above, it is all of your experiences and background and learning that make you brave, and, sure, genetics plays a role in that.

Can you prepare to be courageous?

"A man who has to be told to act before he acts is not a man of action . . . you must act as you breathe."  -- Georges Clemenceau

Can guilt produce courage?

Can you fake it?

People can smell a lack of emotional commitment from a mile away.

Stress: Does it stimulate or stifle courage?

Is courage an individual or a group activity?

You need to have support to take a courageous action; the effects of courage relate directly back to the group.  That being said, a courageous decision is not the result of a group vote.

How do values relate to courage?

Your values dictate your risk/return attitude.

So is there courage in being patient?

Sometimes.  Ready. Fire. Aim. seems highly aggressive with little patience, but you can pick out targets and fully prepare your weapon a long time before you are "Ready."

Where do you find the courage to speak truth to power?

How do today's CEOs define bold leadership?

How do you get a board of directors to be daring with you?

What's the greatest enemy of courage?

You can get more varied answers than mine and answers to the questions that I did not answer in this month's Fast Company.

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