Taking Chances and the Beauty of the And

This week’s post comes from Dave Crumrine.

I attended a funeral service this past Friday for our founder John A. Franken. I have to admit, I’m not “good” at funerals, but they do get me thinking about my own life and what contribution I am leaving in the world.

John’s life was built on trying new things, taking chances and then filling in behind them with hard work and tenacity to make it work. Whether it was the beginning of the Interstates business or many of his other adventures, John “leaned in” to it with tenacity. He knew he wasn’t going to change the world playing it safe all the time. 

Sometimes I wonder if we have enough of that attitude in us. We are certainly a much larger and more complex company, and we are dealing with a world of challenges that John likely didn’t imagine. But are we charging ahead? Are we taking enough chances? 

One could make the point that we have more to lose, and that is a reason to play it safe. Others might claim that at the start of any business, you simply have to take chances, but later on it requires a different course of action to be successful.

I believe we need both – taking chances ANDtaking care of what has been built before us. As a leader, I need to inspire and motivate my team to take chances – the right chances. I need to encourage my team to stretch and try new things, to build confidence in my people, and to convince them that they can figure it out. We might not know all the answers but we are capable, committed and smart, and that can get us there. 

We often fail to consider that playing it safe today is taking a huge risk tomorrow. This is another leadership burden. We must be forward-looking enough to not let this happen. Not having the capability to meet a challenge, to be able to try new things, or to be prepared for a surprise is a huge liability. The price of not being ready will affect the whole team, not just the leaders. If we don’t exercise our “figure it out, take a chance” muscles, they will get soft and leave us unprepared for when we need them. 

John took chances and made it happen. I’m convinced there is a lot of that still at Interstates, but it might need some uncovering.

As a leader at Interstates, I challenge you to ask yourself, “Where should my team be taking chances? How can we lean into the future?”

Continue Leading the Interstates Way!

Dave Crumrine


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