At the beginning of this year, I wrote a blog on the importance of looking back in order to move forward. Ironically, Daniel Pink published a book a month later titled, The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward, with some incredibly valuable insights about the human experience of leaning into regret and why it is critical for organizations to create environments where people feel comfortable taking bold action.

Daniel Pink was a recent guest on Brené Brown’s podcast “Dare to Lead,” in which he highlighted that, over time, people regret inactions way more than actions. In essence, most regrets can be summed up as “If only I had taken the chance.” From his research and writing, he concluded that we must give ourselves permission to be bold and that it is largely up to organizations to give people the psychological safety to be appropriately bold.

It is no coincidence that creating a breakthrough requires a fundamental shift in thinking and bold action to break from what would lead to almost certain predictable or incremental results. For an organization to do this, its leadership and people must invent a new framework to approach an opportunity, imperative, or challenge.

To create a new framework, organizations must get accustomed to leaning into regret, and the said and unsaid such as beliefs, rules, and norms that are currently shaping the action the organization takes. It is critical for the leaders and people of an organization to do this so a shape, feel and awareness can be given to the things that are currently deciding the action. Once this is revealed, an organization can unhook from the things that are not working and create from a blank canvas free of what would have controlled their brush strokes before.

This freedom to think newly is what allows for the leadership and people of an organization to take appropriate risks confidently and untethered by the past. Marshall Goldsmith’s famous book title may say it best; What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

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