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Things to Think About: The Exalted Order of the Extended Neck

Things to Think About

By Pepper de Callier

“Once you establish a culture of courage, put your money where your mouth is by rewarding employees who are courageous and who take smart risks. Even failure can be a positive thing, when your people learn lessons from these failures that help them ultimately achieve the organization's goals.”  Richard Zimmerman, former Chairman and CEO of Hershey Foods

Zimmerman famously established what he called “The Exalted Order of the Extended Neck,” a highly sought-after award for employees who were willing to take risks in pursuit of ideas they really believed in. In my work with leaders, especially Human Resources Directors, they will often tell me that their CEO has asked them to find a way to develop a more courageous, or risk-taking culture.  “We have too many people who don’t think, they just wait to be told what to do.”  Well, I think Richard Zimmerman has some excellent advice on this topic: Find the best way, the most effective way, for your company, to reward intelligent risk-taking, and do it--regularly, and in a way that is highly visible.  Now it’s up to you.

Good luck on your journey.

Till next time…

About the Author: Founder and Executive Director of Prague Leadership Institute, which was named “Best Corporate Leadership Coach Europe—2015”, by U.K. based Corporate Vision, Pepper de Callier, is one of the most respected senior executive coaches and authorities on leadership in Europe. Learn more about him at