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You Have To Get Over The Fear Of Being Fired


Eric Reis declared this in a bold manner during an online talk about his, at the time, new release, The Start-Up Way. He explained that, if you wish to share ideas within your organisation, especially the ones that Reis has explored in his books, then taking the risk to share them should not scare you, because, if you are to get fired over something you feel so passionately about, you will likely be able to find work elsewhere, somewhere where you can share these ideas without this fear.


But, what if you didn’t need to fear being fired at all? In an ideal world, that would be how industries worked; the voice of the employees would be heard above the commotion that occurs in the world of the executive. So, what you really need to do in this case is unpick the issue at hand: why would you be afraid of being fired for suggesting adopting lean methodology in your workplace? Because there is no constant communication between employees and department heads. You, therefore, are swimming against the tide in order to speak up and suggest something like this.


The real issue derives from what logic would lie in place with the idea of being fired. For most organisations, you would not be in such a situation off-the-cuff, unless there were budget cuts, and necessary layoffs etc. To be randomly fired over a business suggestion appears illogical in that respect, unless it would be categorised as something else when filing disciplinary action. What could be making such a suggestion be labelled as?


Insubordination. Talking out of turn, and going against the nature of the organisation, therefore deviating from this preconceived notion of what the company stands for and does.


How do we conquer such a daunting fear? The idea of being fired for something as trivial as speaking up highlights the true nature of the issue at hand: communication.


In non-agile corporate situations, it is likely that employees may work in fear of being fired for insubordination in such a manner, for questioning the nature of their workplace etc. However, opening the doors of communication across departments, allowing suggestions to be shared, spoken, heard, voted upon, amended, re-pitched etc. means that the tools are in place to allow a vaster stream of ideas come flowing through the board room. You never know whether an executive is going to have the next big idea, or maybe it will be an employee, pitching a change in the working situation.


If you are afraid of being fired from your job, for stepping out of line, you won’t necessarily take the risk. After all, if you are not in a financially stable situation, and can afford to exist unsure of when you may catch your next break in finding a job, you will likely bite your tongue, keep your head down and keep working because at least then there is a guarantee of a roof over your head, and food on the table, whether or not you’re living from payday to payday.


What we suggest is opening these doors, and letting the voices be heard at work, because, having employees feeling insecure in their role, and afraid one instance of speaking up will cost them their role at the company, means that the staff are likely existing in fear of other issues: primarily failure.


Ries acknowledged this fear earlier in his talk, explaining that as human beings, prior to entering a capitalist society, we did not fear failure at work. We would fear our crops not growing, because we would not be able to afford food, but we would not be afraid of being dismissed in a board meeting. This fear of failure derives of something else; consequences.


At school, if you misbehaved, you would be punished, just like you would at home. It is the consequences we are conditioned to be wary of. But, if we encourage people to speak up, try new things and experiment to work out how best to operate, to improve company efficiency etc. the only consequence of the trial and error is simply error. That certainly doesn’t seem as scary.



Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.


He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.


The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.


To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: arvind@theagileworks.com

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