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"Drive out fear." (From this list.)

So easy to say – three simple words. And yet so incredible hard to do – both in business and our daily personal lives. The venerable William Edwards Deming raised this in point eight of his TQM (Total Quality Management) work: The Fourteen Points of Quality.

They say there are only two primary emotions – love and fear. How often do we associate “love” with the pin-striped, logical, justified, cut-throat, rat race, “real man”, world of business?

I believe it is safe to say that fear at different degrees still pervade much of the modern workplace today. It remains the primary driver behind the behaviour and processes of many businesses. It fuels micromanagement, committee group-think, stifling contracts, over-regulation (and over-reporting), and stymies effective and expedient decision making.

I also propose that fear can be found lurking not far beneath the surface of each and every one of the key barriers I will talk about in the remainder of this 12 part series.

The opposite of fear is love.

Does this make you feel uncomfortable?

Love in business may be expressed as self respect, respect for others, trust, positive expectations, optimistic outlooks… At the core, this is the humanisation of the practice of business.

Would it be fair to say that most businesses (and the people in business) are significantly more comfortable coping with fear, than to try and bring more love and humanity into their workplaces?

Would I be wrong to say most business processes, contracts, and regulations are set up from a basis of fear?

How can we effectively drive out fear when much of the basis of business is rooted in fear?