Faith. It’s not a word I’ve heard used a lot in my working life. Perhaps it is because it has a tinge of uncertainty about it that many in traditional organizations tend to view it with misgiving. It is an important word though… especially important if you want to achieve anything; rise above anything; or stretch beyond the boundaries of your current understanding.
This occurred to me recently when I went to see the movie, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Without spoiling it for anyone, this story is about a very wealthy Sheik who loves to fish. He owns a castle in Scotland and part of his vision for the future of his people is to make it possible for salmon to live and thrive in Yemen. It seems like an impossible dream to everyone but him. And yet, he continues to pursue it and to believe in it.
The truth is, Leadership asks a great deal of us. It often demands that we strike out into the unknown and convince other people it’s a good idea. It asks us to trust that some things do not come complete with scientific or rational explanation. It asks us, too, to believe in our own abilities: the potential and ability of those who work with us and in the value and viability of our vision, even at times when that vision seems unlikely enough to be unattainable.
Faith also asks this of us. And, it makes room for great things to happen.
It allows us to ‘step off cliffs’ ~ Building and growing a business requires us to take chances. Sometimes these are measured and well researched and sometimes they constitute a leap of faith. I think the success of the latter often depends on how fervently we believe in our imagined outcomes. Those who doubt either themselves or their ability to realize their imagined outcomes rarely see them come to fruition.
It allows us to let go ~ Simply put, when we place our faith in the ability and good intentions of others, we are free to concentrate on other important things. Of course, part of letting go includes successfully transferring our vision of the future to others but, once done, it allows them the freedom to think, create and produce great results in ways that we might not have imagined.
It allows us to see mistakes as reparable ~ When we really believe in what we are doing, mistakes become part of the learning and growing process. Indeed, if our faith in the direction we are taking is strong, the setbacks we will inevitably experience will find a way of teaching us something useful.
The bottom line is that faith in organizations is an essential part of growth and exploration. It belongs in the workplace. It does not guarantee success but it allows for small, and sometimes very big, victories. And, like stepping stones in a stream, they eventually lead us to the other side where we can look back and marvel at the journey and maybe even go fishing in the Yemen.
What do you think?