Leadership, courage and the comfort zone

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Riding the subway on my way to our NYC office the other day, I took a moment to reflect on the empowering messages from an event I recently attended as part of UMT’s Gender Balance Initiative.

The Forté Foundation event, titled “Creating a Culture of Courage: The New Leadership Challenge”, included an empowering keynote by Cindy Solomon, leadership coach to CEOs, and an inspirational panel discussion by women leaders from the fields of technology, healthcare and branding, on how courage drove them to think outside the box, ride the wave of disruption, rather than shy away from it, and make a difference to their teams, businesses and clients. I gleaned great nuggets on how to engage, lead and inspire consulting teams and clients from different generations, cultures and backgrounds and get optimal results.

The key take away? Courage is a skill and a muscle that needs regular exercise. In our line of business, change and disruption are the norm that drives growth. Courage is what can transform a difficulty into an opportunity and serve as a tremendous motivator for individuals, teams and organizations. Whether courage is blind (“close your eyes and jump”), crisis-driven (100% instinctive), role-driven (training and experience-based) or core (“weather the storm and keep your eyes on the goal”) or a combination of all of the above depending on the context of the challenge, fearlessness and preparedness to take a change “head on” is what helps us grow, become thought leaders and add business value to our clients.

As Robert G. Allen put it, “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”

At UMT, we know that our people are our strongest competitive advantage. We are deeply committed to attracting and developing a multi-dimensional, diverse team of the smartest men and women from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities, who use their wealth of knowledge and experience to visualize and build innovative business solutions for our Fortune 500 clients. The Gender Balance Initiative at UMT is focused on recruiting, retaining and growing the best female consulting talent and includes monthly one-on-one mentoring, a Women@UMT employee support group, access to research and networking events through partner organizations and universities.