The Importance of Backups

OK, maybe this does not really seem like a leadership topic, but it can still be helpful, especially if you are leading creative, innovative people who like to test out new things.

Keep a backup copy of everything that might change.

When you are trying something new, make sure you are able to revert to the most recent working version in case this one doesn’t work out. Your team will be more confident about trying something new if they know they can always go back to a working version if this one fails. This is true for internal processes, like switching to a new HR information system or mail server, just as it is true for the products you create for your clients.

The explorer Fridtjof Nansen once said, “I demolish all bridges behind me – then there is no choice but forward.” That can be a very useful philosophy in some situations, but not in others. In your case, think of your employees more as acrobats with a net underneath them as opposed to an explorer heading to the North Pole with nothing but sled dogs to bring him back. If you want to encourage innovative behavior among your team, they will be more willing to take chances on something new if they know they can easily recover from a problem. When people feel like they are risking failure, especially if they come from risk-averse cultures, a backup will help them feel more comfortable.

Why are we bringing this up today? Well, because we had some security issues on our website that we had to clean up and, when we did, some of our pages reverted to their original style from a few years ago rather than incorporating all the changes we had made. Without good backups of all our CSS and various settings, we’ll be spending much of today trying to get things back to normal. Alas.

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