Errors and Deviants - Origins of Lead Change Group Part 9

This is part 9 of a series on the history of the Lead Change Group outlined by examining the book Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin. For links to all the posts click here.

If you've been reading any of these Origins of Lead Change posts you know our group proves much of what Godin has written about in Tribes. Toward the end of the book there are 2  sections that resonate with me.  One is titled Which Would You Prefer: Trial or Error? and the section immediately following it is Positive Deviants.

Trial Or Error

In Trial and Error, Godin adds emphasis to his own line, "If your organization requires success before commitment, it will never have either."

I've always wanted to work at a company where it was OK to screw up.  The idea behind Lead Change is if we want a new generation of leaders to change the world, we're going to have to let them try. In fact, most of growing up and most of developing in leadership is the art of risking, creating, and managing error. You can't learn to walk or ride a bike if you are afraid of falling. You can't learn to lead unless you are willing to risk screwing up.

Screw Up In Gear

I want my default behavior every day to be action. If we're going to do anything, let's do it all the way. My bias for action reduces my chance of at least one type of mistake: the mistake of inaction. If I'm going to screw up, I plan to screw up in gear.

Positive Deviants

Significant change will only come from a group of people who commit before success is guaranteed. Godin goes on in the section Positive Deviants to make the most profound thought (for me) in the entire book. Where "management" attempts to stamp out deviants, leaders understand change is necessary and "employees who are committed to change and making things happen are happier and more productive." Therefore, "it's not hard to come to the conclusion that you desperately need more leaders,more deviants - more agents of change, not fewer."

If we're going to address the problem of leadership in our world, we're not going to do it by all reading the same books by the same authors. We're not going to do it by attending the same schools and doing things the same ways. We're going to mobilize the deviants - those people who are willing to embrace change and make things happen - those very people who are going to experience trial and error.

If we can't handle some error, we'll never improve.

Embracing Error

Lead Change is that group that will embrace deviance. Character-based leadership can never be the same in multiple people. By our nature we are all different. We need a world with billions of leaders acting out of who they are, taking responsibility and risk in order to make a positive difference. My best energy shows up for the idea of having a place where people can develop their character-based leadership and make some errors along the way.

Where does your best energy show up? Don't settle for safe. Bring your best energy and your wildest imagination to make a positive difference in the world. Drop us a note below, or on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+ how we can help.  You can screw up here.

Photo © Joanna Zielinska -

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