Genius in Gray Areas

“Successful leaders in Degussa, a German company, must have courage, determination, and a strong backbone,” wrote Fast Company, which profiled the company in an article about how to “Invest in a Courageous Culture.” The magazine wrote, “Degussa views bravery and audacity as essential corporate virtues, and it trains all of its managers to embrace those qualities.”

That kind of courage, to be bold and audacious,  counts on genius. Genius should not be confused with IQ (intelligence quotient). In Power versus Force, David Hawkins, M.D. writes that:

“It would be more helpful to see genius as simply an extraordinary high degree of insight in a given area of human activity. … Genius can be more accurately identified by perseverance, courage, concentration, enormous drive, and absolute integrity — talent alone is certainly not enough. Dedication of an unusual degree is required to achieve mastery…one could say that genius is the capacity for an extraordinary degree of mastery in one’s calling.

A formula followed by all geniuses, prominent or not, is:  Do what you like to do best, and do it to the very best of your ability.”[1]

How do you apply this courage to design a genius environment and help your workforce discover the resourcefully gray areas? They can do this by:

·         Risking themselves: The size of their courage expands when they say “yes” to adversity (and failure).

·         Being answerable for dysfunctional behavior: It’s unacceptable to violate the varieties of courage behavior that undermine the culture’s norm. (Don’t be deceived by denial.)

·         Applauding the dignity to dare: Diminish the desire for security and invite the spirit to trust learning new possibilities.

·         Recharging the organization’s heart and spirit through reflection: To discern the clarity of their voices instill the value of contemplation — it leads to completeness.

·         Celebrating all sizes of courage and diminishing regrets: Share examples of changed lives or create e-postcards that acknowledge each human being’s spirit at work. Applause in any form signals “where courage meets grace.”

Part Two next month will continue with the insights that one size of courage does not fit all. Meanwhile, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How can employees learning skills easily include courage leadership?
  • What behaviors of courage dominate your environment, who has it and how do you get it?
  • What strategic questions can be used to teach the attributes of courage?
  • What are some concrete courage-generators?

Sandra Ford Walston is a speaker, internationally published author of COURAGE, trainer and courage coach.

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