Monday, April 3, 2017

What is Courage & What’s It Mean for Strategy?

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Strategy entails answering two questions: 1) Where are we going?, and 2) How are we going to get there?

Last time I talked about how we might create a pull for achievement, and thereby transcend the limitations of the carrot & stick.

Today I’d like to talk about how we stay the course. Achievement is hard, achievement hurts. How do we sustain our drive in the face of hurtles, hassles and hammerheads?

The ancients defined Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Courage.

Courage is the most admired, and rightly so. (Marcus Aurelius called in Fortitude). Breakthrough – transcendent, enduring achievement – requires all the Cardinal Virtues, and courage most of all. In fact, Courage makes the other virtues possible.

So what is Courage? It is not fearlessness. Courage is the capacity to overcome fear.

Courage, like True North, entails head and heart. [Getting the Right Things Done]

Courage without the head is simply foolhardiness. Courage means you understand the risks, and do it anyway.

Is courage a virtue under any circumstance? I'd say not. Is a courageous terrorist admirable?

Courage is only admirable when exercised in the service of others, of the greater good, of True North.

So what does this all mean for the practicing manager? Define & communicate Purpose clearly. Seek to develop Courage in yourself and your team.

Courage is our fuel. Understand that achievement hurts, and that you will fall down many times.

‘Fall down seven times, get up eight times…’

Best regards,


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