Book | 2011

Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success

by Thomas J. DeLong

Abstract

Confronted by omnipresent threats of job loss and change, even the brightest among us are anxious. In response, we're hunkering down, blocking ourselves from new challenges. This response hurts us and our organizations, but we fear making ourselves even more vulnerable by committing mistakes while learning something new. In Flying Without a Net, Thomas DeLong explains how to draw strength from vulnerability. First, understand the forces that escalate anxiety in high achievers and the unproductive behaviors you turn to for relief. Then adopt practices that give you the courage to "do the right things poorly" before "doing the right things well." Drawing on his extensive research and consulting work, DeLong lays out (1) Roots of high achievers' anxiety: fear of being wrong, lack of a sense of purpose, and a craving for human connection; (2) Destructive behaviors we adopt to relieve our anxiety: busyness, comparing ourselves to others, and blaming others for our frustrations; (3) Behaviors we must adopt to gain strength from vulnerability: putting the past behind us and seeking honest feedback. Packed with practical advice and inspiring stories, Flying Without a Net is an invaluable resource for all leaders seeking to thrive in this age of anxiety.

Keywords: Leadership Style; Personal Development and Career; Problems and Challenges; Attitudes; Behavior;

Citation:

DeLong, Thomas J. Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2011.