If you think about any organization, from any Industry, the individuals who continue to move to the higher levels of their organization, up to and including the senior-level did not get there, nor do they stay there, if by nature, they are conservative, cautious or low risk-takers. The only exception, perhaps, would be the CFO and he or she is paid to be on the more cautious side of risk-taking.
However, it is important that we take a moment and provide context to the dynamic of risk-taking.
The truth is, that with few exceptions, risk-taking is not encouraged within our operating environments, which has helped to create the perception that taking risk can be detrimental to our career. Subsequently, many managers approach risk-taking in a very cautious and conservative manner or avoid taking risk at all. For example, when coaching managers from our programs, we ask them to define risk-taking in a word or a phrase. Their consistent response is, gambler, Las Vegas, skydiving, standing on the edge of a cliff, playing Russian roulette and other forms of extreme activities of chance.
When we hear those definitions of risk-taking from Manager’s, we tell them that we have some good news to share with them. Risk-taking is not about parachuting off of a cliff, it is simply about IDEAS!! You see, our real competitor is not XYZ Company, the true competitor is settling for the status-quo and mediocrity, and there is no quicker way for us to become irrelevant than by marching in place, settling for business as usual and going nowhere fast. We are in a time when what has made us successful in the past, may not work anymore and we need to be courageous enough to be creative enough to find new ways of doing business. The only way to defeat the enemy within . . . which is the status-quo, is to think creatively about new and different ways to make our team and organization better and more successful. And when we have belief and conviction in our ideas, then are willing to implement the ideas, this is the definition of risk-taking.
If risk-taking is really defined as IDEAS, and it is, should we all not be willing to take this type leap, throw our ideas into the hat and add value to our team and organization?
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