The fast-changing, uncertain environment in which we live requires risk taking. As a colleague commented, “If you are traveling from Los Angeles to New York City, you can’t wait for all of the stop lights to turn green before you start.”
Many who avoid risks in business fail to note that they take risks every day in many facets of their lives. For example, they face risks in choices they make about routes to work, what they eat for lunch, and the relationships they establish. So, what makes risk taking in business more challenging? Often, it’s because the uncertainties loom larger or the individual lacks personal experience to calibrate and navigate the risks.
Here are strategies to make risk-taking more palatable.
* Be clear about your hopes.
Pursue only those things that really make sense to you and you want to do. Too many people veer off course pursuing what looks “hot” or what they think they should do. Sometimes, risk aversion can be a voice helping us to avoid what isn’t right for us personally or business-wise.
* Develop a visual map.
You can create a results chain that describes the sequence of events or circumstances necessary to reach your objectives. Drawing a picture will help you visualize and communicate the risks with others who can help you assess the accuracy of your understanding and share experience in dealing with them.
* Trigger your commitments and resources as the risks resolve.
Some of the most-acclaimed risk takers–venture investors–actually manage risks very aggressively. They target milestones for further investment. This keeps focus and avoids “betting the farm” before you’ve plowed the ground.
* Have more than one option.
If you don’t have choices, then everything looks black or white with no flexibility to adapt to changes. Choices and contingency plans support risk taking because they offer ways to recover and adjust.
Enjoy a healthy stretch. It will keep your mind and career growing.
Photo by: Jessica Lucia