In an accusatorial tone, many mothers have said things like, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” The insinuation is that real friends don’t encourage you to take risks. From my experience a true friend, or even just someone who has your best interests in mind, will ask you take to huge leaps, even giving you a shove from time to time.
Taking leaps is top of mind as I jumped, just a few hours prior to writing this, out of a perfectly good airplane. I did so because some of my dearest friends encouraged me to join them. After watching the video of my first skydive, I’m now reliving the rush of the 8000′, 60-second freefall, followed by the beauty of the peaceful 5500′ glide to our landing spot, safely sliding to a stop in the soft, warm grass. Would I do it again? When are we leaving?!?
That is the power of true friendships and supportive relationships—they are the people who often suggest taking leaps you might otherwise avoid.
I’m betting there’s a leap you’ve wanted to take for the benefit of your company, but something has held you back. It could be fear, believing you’re too busy, or some other reason, legitimate or not. Why you haven’t taken this leap really doesn’t matter.
As a leader, it’s your job to take leaps that you believe will create better circumstances for your organization. This could be changing the type of recruiting you do, the markets you serve, or how you deliver your services. Maybe you’ve always wanted to dramatically increase margins or fees, reduce the amount of time it takes to fill orders, or even innovate how buyers of staffing and recruiting acquire their talent.
Whatever the leap may be, doing it alone is often the problem. It can be lonely at the top, including at 13,500′ in an airplane, which is why I went with trusted friends and hired Paul, my instructor. The same is true for leaders in staffing—taking chances and choosing to follow through on calculated risks is always easier with support. This is why many of my clients have retained me as their advisor for years and often even more than a decade. Whether it’s hiring someone or lining up colleagues you already trust, leaders need unbiased people to be of support and, occasionally, give them a healthy shove.
While most moms have the best interests of their kids in mind, telling them not to take leaps with trusted friends is not one of their best pieces of advice. Good thing us grownups no longer have to follow all of moms’ directions.