Leadership needs the balance between the static of what works vs. dynamic creative growth. This is not a division between conservative or low-risk-takers compared to risk-takers or recklessness. It is the decision between choosing what must be kept in place – the static – and what must be pushed forward – the dynamic.
This borrows heavily from "Lila" by Robert Pirsig, just for full disclosure. He is the author of "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance" which is said to be the most popular philosophy book of all time. But I think "Lila" is a more developed approach and can be more easily applied in real life, to improve your personal excellence.
Dynamic change is what creates growth. This is seen when you are pushing boundaries, outgrowing the restrictions of the past, and moving into new territories. There is no analysis of risk or profit-loss. It is simply a dynamic process. Amoral. You bring the morality to it.
But constant growth would lead to chaos and anarchy. Some retrenching and establishment of what works is necessary. This is the election of what you wish to be static. This is not "being conservative" or "avoiding risk." It is choosing to stop dynamic growth in one particular area.
Let's look at an example. Let's say I am leading a team that works on different litigation projects. This is simplified example, so read it in that vein. As we have worked on different projects, we notice that the most efficient process is first, draft a document that explains the goals of the litigation; next, define the issues and each party's position on each issue; third, draft a document of what discovery is needed for each issue. Mandating that this is the process that each litigation team follows is electing what to make "static." The "dynamic" in this example could be that each discovery document is going to be unique; or that the goals document can be in outline form, or mindmap form, or flowchart form.
But too much establishment leads to calculation and stagnation. Even ignoring the observation that your competitors are constantly growing and moving on, your organization itself is growing by adding new employees and new ideas. Bringing on new people and plugging them into a system that is not growing and changing is just a waste of talent.
A leader is not only invested in the excellence of his or her team, but also in his or her personal excellence. A leader manages the personal balance between static and dynamic growth as well as the team's. Failing to do this leaves the leader trailing behind. Not a good place to be.
A leader is constantly monitoring the status of the organization, maintaining that optimum balance between maintaining the static of what works and that dynamic change that grows the organization. This requires that the leader have the courage to stand up to different constituencies in his or her organization, and the integrity to remain true to the unifying idea behind the enterprise.