In a comedy special, Jerry Seinfeld once humorously said, “I saw a study that said speaking in front of a crowd is considered the number one fear of the average person. I found that amazing. Number two was death. Death was number two? This means to the average person if you have to be at a funeral, you would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
The crowd roared with laughter. Of course, it’s amusing because it touches on a truth we all know too well – fear is a powerful force in our lives, influencing our decisions and actions in various situations. Whether it’s the fear of public speaking, the fear of failure, or even the fear of snakes, we all experience it in some form or another.
However, when it comes to the business world, fear can be one of the most significant obstacles we encounter on a daily basis. Specifically, fear of how to keep up with competitors and modernize our software, which holds the key to success in what we call app modernization. In fact, approximately 74% of businesses fail at app modernization.
Most people don’t know this but there is a neurological hack to mitigate fear. Once you understand the science behind fear, you can use this technique to reverse fear and overcome obstacles to ignite fearless app modernization.
The Science Behind Fear
People often experience fear in business due to the uncertainty and potential risks involved. Our brain’s primal urges take over, perceiving risks as a threat to our survival. This fear triggers the amygdala (see image), the brain’s fear responder, making it extremely difficult to embrace transformative changes. In fact, Norwest reports that 90% of CEOs agree that fear is their leading cause of distress, leading to stagnation and missed opportunities.
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The key to reversing fear is not deep breathing or yoga, nor is it the latest relaxation technique or motivational seminar. While these methods have merits, the true antidote to fear may surprise you: Generosity. Yes, you read that right. Acts of generosity, both in business and life, have a remarkable power to reduce fear and ignite progress in ways you might never have imagined.
Scientifically, generosity naturally reduces the amygdala response, reducing fear and anxiety. By directing your attention away from yourself and toward others, you are more empathetic, more genuine, and effectively calm the fear response. Lisa Firestone, Ph. D. said, “Generosity is actually (selfishly) in your best interest.”
But… How Do I Do That?
It may seem like a strange question, but it’s completely normal to ask, “How can I be more generous?” Especially when we’re discussing app modernization. Generosity is the key to unlocking the potential for fearless app modernization. By embracing the power of generosity and implementing strategies that foster collaboration and employee growth, businesses can overcome fear and drive successful app modernization initiatives.
Here are ten practical ways to actively mitigate the fear of app modernization through generosity.
- Embrace Change as an Opportunity: Instead of fearing change, view it as an opportunity for growth and progress. Embrace the idea that modernizing your apps can lead to improved efficiency, enhanced user experience, and a competitive edge in the market. In 1997, Netflix recognized the need to adapt and changed their company strategy to shift focus to online streaming, with more than 200 million subscribers worldwide today.
- Foster a Culture of Support and Openness: Establish a culture that encourages open communication and values input from all organizational levels. Create an environment where team members can freely share their insights, experiences, and concerns, fostering a supportive atmosphere that empowers everyone to contribute effectively.
- Encourage Cross-Functional Collaboration: Form cross-functional teams to work on app modernization projects, bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise. Collaborative efforts lead to more comprehensive and effective solutions.
- Implement Open-Door Feedback: Embrace an open-door policy for feedback and suggestions, enabling employees to voice their concerns and contribute to the decision-making process. This inclusivity boosts morale and confidence in the modernization journey, reducing fear of the unknown.
- Foster Knowledge Sharing: A Forrester Study reveals that 36% of employees find it hard to exchange information across different teams causing silos. Encourage mentorship programs and regular team meetings to facilitate knowledge sharing. Generously support the exchange of knowledge and ideas, empowering employees to tackle modernization challenges collectively.
- Embrace Employee Innovations: Be open to and generously embrace innovative ideas from employees at all levels of the organization. When team members feel that their contributions are valued, they become more engaged and are more likely to actively participate in the app modernization process.
- Provide Abundant Learning Opportunities: Offer continuous learning opportunities and resources for employees to upskill and adapt to modernization demands. Generously investing in employees’ growth helps build confidence and reduces fear about adopting new technologies.
- Recognize and Reward Efforts: A 2019 Employee Engagement Report showed that only one-third of workers received recognition the last time they went the extra mile. When employees don’t feel valued, they’re more likely to look for new opportunities. Acknowledge and generously reward employees for their contributions to the app modernization process. Recognizing their efforts fosters a sense of ownership and motivation within the team.
- Prioritize Employee Well-Being: According to recent research conducted by global education tech firm Cengage Group, 89% of 1200 U.S. workers included in the study reported burn out and feeling unsupported as one of the top reasons they are leaving their jobs. Provide work-life balance initiatives and wellness programs to support employees during the app modernization process. Generously investing in employee well-being helps create a healthy and balanced workforce that is better equipped to handle challenges and stress.
- Empower Career Advancement: 94% of workers said they would remain with a company if their employer invested in their careers. Provide opportunities for career advancement and personal growth. Generously empowering employees with the right skills instills confidence and reduces apprehension about adopting new practices.
The Key to Fearless App Modernization
When Jerry Seinfeld humorously pointed out that people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy, he made us laugh at the truth we are all familiar with – fear is a powerful force in our lives, affecting our decisions and actions. But in the business world, fear can hinder progress, especially when it comes to app modernization.
Don’t let your business end up in the casket. Instead, when considering your own business initiatives, embrace the power of generosity, mitigate fear, unlock your true potential, and fearlessly embark on your quest toward app modernization.
For more in-depth solutions for IT leaders, we highly recommend checking out our free guide called the “VP of IT’s Guide to Transforming Your Business.” This guide provides further insights into cloud strategy, data, DevOps, and product development to kickstart your modernization journey.