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Cup of Joe

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The Removal of the Fear Factor

Fear: It seems to me that more than ever, our society is increasingly influenced, in negative and harmful ways, by fear. Family members, friends, co-workers…many seem to be affected to varying degrees by things they perceive as “bad.”

18 April 2014

Where and how did their perceptions become their reality? Why would anyone allow themselves to fall prey to fear such that they become less than who they can truly be?

There are perhaps hundreds of factors and inputs that can produce this type of emotion within an individual, and truly, the intent of Cup of Joe is not to engage in the deep psychological associations with fear. However, if I were to ask you to examine Fear can be broadly defined as: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.— ,the impact of news, stories, and conversations that you digest over the course of a day, a week or a month, how would you respond?

I believe that society has become far too tilted in the direction of sensationalism. Through social media platforms and the 24 hour news cycle, we become instantly aware of every piece of “news” from even the most remote corners of not just our own countries, but the entire globe! And as society creeps steadfastly in the direction of sensationalism, what is now considered newsworthy is often tales of physical or personal destruction. Sadly, the impact of this on society and the collective psyche can be crippling. I often wonder how a person is improved or made better off by being in possession of this “news?” Indeed, I am increasingly convinced that by taking measures to limit, if not entirely block it from being seen, fear can be reduced and people can stand a far greater chance of living more enriching lives.

What does this have to do with business? Well, as a leader of a global organization, I am, above all else, a leader of leaders. Among my many responsibilities, one is to ensure that those who report directly to me, as well as those who report to them, are not compromised by the emotion of fear. Specifically, I want employees who are not at all inhibited by thoughts of harm, retribution, and catastrophe. Whose decisions and actions are not hindered and stymied by worry to the point where they are no longer comfortable or willing to take chances, to be creative, to innovate…to fail!

In 1933, as America was mired in a deep depression and on the verge of a world war, FDR famously stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Dale Carnegie, when speaking on the topic of fear once stated, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Surely, I am not the only leader who desires a workforce that is more focused on getting busy, rather than an employee population crippled by fear and as a result, given to inaction!

A recent survey showed global leaders spend nearly 40% of their time managing the “fear factor.” That’s 40 per cent of their time dealing with the fear of being on the receiving end of verbal outbursts and negative actions by others. It is usually the leader with the most power who provokes the most fear. With leaders worried about nasty behavior from those with even more power than they have, imagine the toll the fear factor must take on the people who wield substantially less power:  Everybody else. There is additional data that proves employees in a threatening environment are less engaged, less loyal, and for the most part miserable. In the end, it is fear that holds back greatness. Fear holds back genius and progress!

So what does all that mean with respect to internal relationships, customer experiences and ultimately, the bottom line? I think you know the answers… 

At Bristol, our focus remains squarely on relationships as we leverage our Connect versus Control philosophy. As leaders, our primary responsibility is to conduct ourselves in such a way that removes entirely the element of fear! This means that the relationships we develop with all critical constituents – fellow employees, clients and their relocating employees, and our supplier-partners, are all seated upon a foundation of trust, respect and reverence. Our goal is to extract the maximum amount of value within each relationship, producing a maximized experience for all.

In conclusion, the lines that separate our work and personal lives are as blurred as they have ever been. Which means that to the degree people allow themselves to fall prey to the forces of fear outside the office, they will likely carry that mindset into the office. At Bristol, our desire is to attract and retain the most energetic, creative and FEARLESS workforce possible! I am hopeful that our success and the strength of our relationships serve as a testament, indicating we are moving in the right direction.

Sincerely,

Joe Cardini  

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