Falling Behind • 237 Marketing + Web

Marketing agencies love to talk about FOMO, or the fear of missing out, and how it can prompt consumers to make immediate buying decisions. But what about FOFB – the fear of falling behind? It can paralyze business owners to such a degree that they stop moving forward with improvement efforts. It’s kind of ironic, actually. Leaders of companies or organizations are so worried about being bested by competitors that they can’t make any moves at all.

Like most things in life, it comes down to facing your fears. If you can muster the courage to address these challenges head on, you can reap the rewards. Even if you fail, you can always strive to “fail forward,” meaning the adjustment and next step is already in place. We’ve gathered this list of five common fears in business and how, if you face them, they can motivate you to improve your organization. You might just leave your competition in the dust.

Fear of relinquishing power

You don’t want to give up control of all the information and all the decisions. The result is that none of your employees can fully contribute because they have to wait for instructions from you. This fear is a growth killer for sure. Motivation: If you worry that workers are not ready to be decision makers, that points to some training opportunities you need to provide them. Once they are up to speed and ready for delegation, you will find that the company gets better. Why? Because you have a whole team of people working to improve it instead of just one.

Fear of making mistakes

You’ve got some potential changes for your organization in mind but don’t feel prepared to put them into action. What if it doesn’t work out? You don’t want to regret making changes when everything seemed to be going well. Motivation: Not only will implementing improvements likely not be cause for regret, you’ll probably have everyone asking “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” Sticking with the status quo can indicate a failure to learn and adjust, and no business can succeed long-term with that mindset.

Fear of speaking the truth

You could be paralyzed into inertia for fear of pointing out deficiencies in your company operations. After all, you were the one who created the process, so any problems are your own making, right? Motivation: Who cares? If something that worked in the past doesn’t work anymore, no one – from the owner to the interns – should be afraid to point out inefficiencies and suggest solutions. Again, the ability to adapt is a sign of a strong leadership culture and a harbinger of business success.

Fear of innovation

Every industry has standards, and both you and your competitors likely follow these practices fairly carefully. Doing something differently and stepping outside the norm can be terrifying and risky. Plus, it might not work. Motivation: But what if it does work? Many giant, world-famous companies today found success by bringing something new to the table and then continuing to innovate into the future. You can’t achieve that level of success unless you actively search for new ways to set yourself apart from the old industry standard.

Fear of losing friends

You don’t want to criticize employees in your organization or fellow business leaders because you don’t want to ruin the friendships you’ve built. It can seem as though even superficial friendships are better than having people dislike you. Motivation: It’s your job to make sure the critiques you offer are constructive and well formulated so you are giving recipients the tools they need to improve. Not only does this force you to think about how your company’s processes can be in better, it also lessens the blow that criticism can make on the recipient. If they get angry, it won’t be for long, and if it is, it probably wasn’t a real friendship anyway.

Do any of these common fears ring a bell with you? If so, they could be standing between you and true success in your industry. While you are struggling with worry, your competitors may be moving forward, innovating and garnering a lot more customers.

Don’t let FOFB keep you from taking action!