Over the past few years, we have been repeatedly asked one simple question: What is the secret of the success of so many Israeli-based start-ups?
People want to know: Is there a “Waze-like” formula that everyone in Israel uses? And why are so many of the world’s biggest and most successful companies establishing their R&D centers in Israel?
For more than two decades, we have consulted and trained executives from Fortune 500 companies in Europe, the US and Israel.
In 2012, we moved from Israel to Palo Alto, California, to be closer to our Silicon Valley clients. When we arrived in the United States, everyone asked us that same question: What is the secret? How did Israel become the "Start-up Nation"?
Whether they were clients, audience members at keynote addresses, delegates from Asia, Latin America or Europe, or students from Stanford and UC Berkeley, they all wanted to know the answer.
Now, if we were sociologists or historians we might have given answers incorporating Israel’s unique history, diversity, or geography. But, because we have a deep knowledge of business, paired with our unique psychological insight, our answer was different. We told them that the ingredient that makes the Israeli entrepreneurs so successful, creative and extraordinarily bold, is the mindset of Positive Chutzpah that comes so naturally to them.
The Origin of Chutzpah
Chutzpah is the Yiddish word for gall, brazen nerve and courage — mixed with audacity. It's the willingness to break with convention and to try new things. Adopted into English, chutzpah is the "personal confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others,” (Merriam-Webster).
In Israel and across the Jewish world, chutzpah is a trait that is passed from generation to generation. It’s a central part of the culture, language and tradition. At a young age, Israeli children learn to be loyal to their dreams, to achieve creative solutions without fear of failure, and to ask challenging questions that often cast doubts on convention.
They learn that chutzpah pays off, and if you do not work with determination to achieve what you want, nobody else will do it for you.
Some people believe that it begins when children enter preschool. It’s not always easy for the teachers, but they encourage their students to speak up and to color outside of the lines.
This kind of personal confidence and social courage is also an integral part of the Israeli business culture. If Israelis say, “You have chutzpah!” they mean “You know what you want, and you will do whatever it takes to get it.”
The Surprising Truth About Chutzpah Around The World
When we expanded our study to include companies and successful entrepreneurs around the world, we discovered, surprisingly, that they display this same chutzpah mindset. We were eager to understand how this way of thinking served these non-Israeli leaders and companies, and how they adapted chutzpah to change the rules of the game.
We concluded that the attitude that has helped entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations to thrive is a particular kind of chutzpah - a Positive Chutzpah. This Positive Chutzpah is used not only for the individual good, but it also creates positive value for the greater community.
It's a kind of audacity with soul. It dares to challenge the status-quo, but with empathy, compassion, grace, and the intention for a higher purpose. To add value, solve problems, and improve the world.
Amazingly, many leaders and companies who use the same Positive Chutzpah are not even aware of their secret weapon. Therefore, they cannot always reproduce their success, or even identify what made them stand out.
Based on our research, combined with our extensive chutzpah-culture background, we identified and coined the Positive Chutzpah Mindset, and we share with corporations and individuals the tools, processes and techniques to adopt it.
Our new “Positive Chutzpah language” not only creates business magic, but it inspires a new kind of intra-organizational dialogue.
The Positive Chutzpah Mindset is for Everyone
Positive Chutzpah is a mindset for everyone, and can be used everywhere.
And that’s important not only for individuals but also for corporations, because it means that any business leader who wants to lead her or his company to extraordinary heights can do it now — systematically and consciously — using our research-based tools.
It's no longer a matter of luck or intuition. It’s having the knowledge, the tools and the commitment to apply a Positive Chutzpah Mindset throughout your organization.
A World with Unlimited Innovation Across All Cultures
We envision a world in which all people have an opportunity to make their mark, achieve their dreams, and at the same time, help to make the world a better place; a world in which business leaders don’t hold themselves back because they’re too afraid to fail. Instead, they reach for the brass ring because they know their innovative ideas can succeed.
Our mission is to spread the Positive Chutzpah mindset around the world, and inspire people to make positive changes, without fear of failure or criticism holding them back. Today, when the world is more connected than ever before, we are all part of a great human chain. A breakthrough by one of us is a breakthrough for all.
We share the secrets of the most innovative leaders and entrepreneurs with everyone who wants to learn.
We believe that anyone can be a game-changer. Anyone who truly wants to, can change the world for the better.