The future belongs to the bold

This research uncovers truths about the state of Canada's business courage and provides insights into the positive impact courage can have on an organization's success.

Over the past year, Deloitte surveyed 1,200 Canadian business leaders to evaluate the state of courage in our businesses. This marks the first time that courage in business has been measured and its impact quantified.

Key findings:

  • While only 11 per cent of Canadian businesses are courageous, 30 per cent are evolving.
  • Courage drives growth and if business leaders take action, Canada has the potential to reach new heights.
    • Courageous businesses achieve better results: 69 per cent of courageous businesses saw revenues rise last year, compared to only 46 per cent of fearful businesses; 34 per cent of fearful businesses reported falling revenues last year — they were twice as likely to experience revenue decreases as their courageous peers.
    • Courageous businesses pursue growth more aggressively: 67 per cent of courageous businesses intend to increase their R&D investment over the next five years, compared to 22 per cent of fearful organizations; 49 per cent of courageous businesses introduced significant amounts of new products or services over the past five years, compared to just 23 per cent of fearful businesses.

Courage is taking a stand and doing the right thing, the hard thing, for the greater good, despite being filled with fear, doubt or uncertainty. Deloitte has identified five elements that are critical to cultivating courage in Canadian businesses:

  • Be provocative and challenge the status quo: Courageous businesses articulate points of view that may run counter to convention. They embrace disruption — some even pursue it. They defy industry norms or existing best practices even in the face of outside criticism.
  • Take calculated risks: Courageous businesses use thorough, rational analysis grounded in data to develop new ideas, investments and innovations. They understand their risks clearly — and look for opportunities where the risks appear greater and the rewards smaller.
  • Do what's right: Courageous businesses take actions that generate positive, long-term impacts for their firm, their people and their country. They’ll defer short-term gains to ensure long-term success, and they place a greater value on non-monetary organizational goals.
  • Start with yourself: Courageous business leaders are guided by their passion and are seen as authentic. They use their strong moral compass to inform their organization’s decisions. They're more likely to take personal accountability for the company’s failures — and share the credit for its successes.
  • Unite to include: Courageous business leaders surround themselves with diverse thinkers from different backgrounds. They understand the value and importance of soliciting and incorporating input and feedback from people at all levels of their organizations.