Creating a culture of boldness starts with a clear purpose statement.
A stroll along LA’s Venice Beach boardwalk is a lively experience sure to make you both smile and shake your head—often at the same time. Aspiring dancers gather around a boombox energetically moving to the beat. A young woman, 19 at best, steps into the center of the crowd, pauses, then begins moving her feet in a mesmerizing, lightning-fast pattern. Her fellow dancers, most of them strangers, can’t help but take notice, and one by one, they nod their heads, concentrating to memorize the routine, falling into lockstep, creating a synchronized wave of dance across the wooden planks.
Down the boardwalk a bit, you’ll pass the Naked Cowboy—a street performer best known for his constant presence in NYC’s Times Square—who has decided to sign a few autographs and mingle with the crowd while on a short visit to LA. Heads turn and expressions range from amused to shocked as the Cowboy weaves in and out, pausing for photos, singing a few lines of a song, all the while playing to the crowd. And yes, he’s naked—except for a pair of very small, colorfully-branded tighty whities and his trusted guitar.
In both of these examples, their fellow beach-goers find themselves enraptured. They can’t take their eyes off these performers. Why? What makes these two individuals different from everyone else?
Simply put, they’re bold.
While one may be a bit more, um, confident than the other, they both demonstrate courage to break free from the sea of sameness.
Their reward? They get noticed.
When you embrace your bold, you get noticed. For some, that means wearing flashy undies or dancing in public. For others, that might mean simply updating your “about” page and letting people know who you are. Maybe it’s summoning the courage to reach out to a partner you’ve been wanting to collaborate with. Or perhaps it’s launching your website or hosting that webinar.
Bold looks different for everybody, and what matters most is that first step outside your comfort zone.
Because as soon as you do, you get noticed.
So how can your brand level up your bold factor?
1. Start with a clear purpose statement.
Defining your brand’s North Star provides clarity and focus. It streamlines decision-making so everybody is on board with what you’re trying to accomplish. The result is greater confidence within management and stronger communication within your troops.
There’s a reason Patagonia, Tesla, and Apple are heads and earlobes above others in their space. They clearly communicate who they are and what they stand for in specific, concrete terms. Those who align with their values choose to do business with them—even when it means paying more.
2. Reward bold action.
Fear of failure, rejection, ridicule, professional self-doubt: these are all valid reasons why employees are often leery to break from the status quo and do something bold or original in their roles. If you want to foster creativity and growth, it’s up to you to lead by example. Reward those who take risks—especially if they fail. Celebrate learnings, however small, that came from the effort. Promoting a culture of boldness will pay itself back in spades through fresh ideas and increased customer satisfaction. Bold is a mindset and one that requires consistency and patience.
3. Embrace the discomfort.
Swim in discomfort until your fingers get all pruney. Creating a culture of boldness means learning to be comfortable with the unknown and letting it be known you’re okay with that as a leader. Do you think the Naked Cowboy was comfortable the first time he showed up at Times Square looking to make a name for himself? His whities were probably a lot less tighty the first few times around. It’s H-A-R-D to break out of the comfort of sameness to carve a new path. That discomfort might look like a lengthy reality talk with your customer experience team and acknowledging where you’re falling short on the customer happiness scale. Or maybe it’s surfing the waves of nervousness that accompany the process of creating a bold marketing campaign that stays on message in a fresh, thought-provoking way.
Whatever ways you choose to be bold, do so with courage and confidence. Being the reason the crowd gathers in the first place is WAY more fun than throwing elbows to get to the front of the line and watch. While you don’t have to strum a guitar in your undies to get noticed, it’s not a bad way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon at the beach.
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