- Talent Management
Whether it’s you as an individual employee, your department or your entire organization, your success is affected by your ability to take risks. In this sense, it’s important to understand the risk-taking profile of your company, your team and yourself. What you’re aiming for is intelligent risk-taking, which means having a process for making good risk decisions. If the risks you take are not intelligent, the consequences can have a negative impact on the trajectory of your career, your team’s project work, and even the entire company’s business success. Poor risk-taking is something you simply can’t afford to do. The trick is to foster a culture of intelligent risk-taking supported by systems that encourage it as well.
In the most general sense, “risk-taking” involves exposing yourself to potential negative outcomes in order to take advantage of a perceived opportunity. Risk-taking is essentially acting in the face of uncertainty. One way to classify different risks is by whether they are positive or negative. Positive risks would include things like deciding to start a new relationship, pursuing further education, starting a new business or switching careers. Examples of negative risks would include things like unsafe sex, driving while intoxicated, or using illegal drugs. Notice how the negative risks involve some kind of immediate gratification with a high potential for harm while the positive risks involve a longer-term or delayed gratification.
People who tend to dwell on the worst-case scenario are much less likely to take risks. They may avoid those potential negative outcomes, but they’re also denying themselves potential positive outcomes. This is where the old saying nothing ventured, nothing gained, rings true.
Barriers to Intelligent Risk-Taking
What gets in the way of taking intelligent risks? Here are few of the most common barriers that come up in risk-taking profiles:
Do you see how these can apply not just to you as an individual, but to groups of people in the form of teams or even entire organizations? Understanding the anatomy of a risk and the barriers to risk-taking is the beginning of figuring out what systems will help you, your team and your company take intelligent risks that are more likely to get the results you’re looking for. Here are some specific steps that will help you and your company take intelligent risks:
Nothing great was ever achieved without taking substantial risks. People who have achieved great things have also typically encountered several bumps of failure on the road to success. By understanding intelligent risk-taking and what gets in its way, your company’s workforce will be ready to take the kinds of intelligent risks that get results.