In business, what is meant by "Leap of Faith"?
By Dr. Rod King (firstname.lastname@example.org; @rodkuhnking)
"When people's Leaps of Faith are validated by reality, they are celebrated as Visionaries.
When people's Leaps of Faith never come to fruition, they are dismissed as Lunatics or
'Leap of Faith' is a phrase commonly attributed to the Danish Philosopher,
Soren Kierkegaard, who is one of my favorite philosophers. Kierkegaard once
said, "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
How wise! It is only after living that we can make sense of life. The further you
think about life, the more unpredictable it becomes. This is Chaos Theory at
work. Another hero of mine, Benjamin Franklyn, once said: "The only thing
certain in life is death and taxes." But, I digress.
According to Wikipedia, Kierkegaard never used the term 'Leap of Faith.' His
own phrase was 'Leap to Faith.' Whether one uses 'Leap of Faith' or 'Leap to
Faith,' the idea is of a currently unproven belief, grand hypothesis, dream, or
In the context of business, I first came across the term, 'Leap of Faith,' in John
Mullins & Randy Komisar's book, 'Getting to Plan B.' Eric Ries also uses the
phrase in his book, ''The Lean Startup.' In general, 'Leap of Faith' is
synonymous with vision or dream. However, the term Leap of Faith
emphasizes that a vision is purely a claim, theory, or hypothesis that must be
validated using experiments.
In business, entrepreneurs (especially of the visionary type) consider their
vision to be as 'real' as one of nature’s laws and may waste considerable
time, money, and other resources by intuitively or blindly pursuing that vision;
I speak from experience! In contrast, if one were to consider a vision as a
'Leap of Faith' or hypothesis, then there's a strong need to conduct scientific
experiments to accept or reject the Leap of Faith (Vision).
Albert Einstein provides an excellent case of someone who had great Leaps
of Faith (Visions). However, he had to have his intuitive leaps validated by
experiments. Otherwise, his Leaps of Faith or 'intuition' would have been
considered as hallucinations. Even Einstein suffered from believing too
strongly in his Leaps of Faith especially in Quantum Mechanics as revealed in
his comment, 'God does not play dice.'
Another Leap of Faith of Einstein related to a Unified Theory that he
unsuccessfully pursued. Like in dreams, Leaps of Faith are generally elusive
and hardly come to pass as originally conceived. However, by decomposing a
Leap of Faith (Vision/Dream) into short, medium, and long-term goals as well
as results, outcomes, and milestones while continuously conducting
experiments to test components and objectives of the Goals/Leap of
Faith/Vision/Dream, we may be able to cost-effectively achieve our vision or
pivot to more attainable goals and dreams.
I find the topic of 'Leap of Faith' fascinating. Do you?
“Red Ocean Disruptor”