“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” Wizard of Oz, 1939
That sums up a lot of my career. I was always hustling to make sure that no one could see what was behind the curtain. Because really if you saw what was behind there….well you wouldn’t want to hire me, let alone hire my company for X, Y and/or Z…….
About four years ago, I had a chance to lean into some of the discomforts that I had about my abilities and my company. It was the best choice I have made in my business life. I found out that if I faced my fears, and dealt with the why I was insecure about me and my company, that we could actually get better. I have a great friend who insists that his teammates in his company ask the FEARLESS question. The fearless question was the one that wasn’t getting asked around the conference table. It was the one that could solve a problem, or prevent one too. It was the opening of the curtain and sweeping in all the corners. We say at KB—just blurt it out. No judgment. No reprisal for asking what you don’t know. It is our ability to find out what is wrong and accept that responsibility and to dive into the messy truth. We have QBR (quarterly business reviews) with our partners. One of the items we go over is the things that have NOT gone well. This is our act of contrition to say “we know it’s out there and this is what we learned and this is what we have done or are doing about it.”
It has made us stronger. It has made me more approachable as a leader at KB. I owe a lot of people a great deal of credit for helping me realize that failure is seldom fatal. We buried the old way of doing business at KB in the makeshift graveyard adjacent to the front door of our office. It is a great reminder to me to not run from my insecurities, but to embrace them and work on them. Stop by and check out our headstone sometime. It really isn’t that scary to me anymore.