Environments that don’t support experimentation can cause change agents to become risk adverse. Some risk aversion is good but too much can freeze you into inaction.
I have mentored many change agents over my career. Two pieces of advice I have consistently given are:
- You never have access to perfect information (it does not exist).
- Expect to be crucified by someone every time you make a substantive change (someone will not like what you do), this means you are on track if you survive.
Putting both of these together suggests that change agents need to have a bias toward action. Stephen Covey said, “act or be acted upon.” You can’t wait for perfect information and you need to have thick enough skin to survive.