Is it Worth the Risk?

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Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

T.S. Eliot

Last week we talked about risk and the similarities between success in sporting activities and success in business. The truth is that most people shy away from risk, and that is usually because they look at possibilities from the wrong perspective. That is to say, they look at what they stand to lose if things go badly, as opposed to focusing on what they stand to gain if they are successful. At the end of the day, risk is healthy when managed properly. What risks are you willing to take to be successful?Is it Worth the Risk?

The next time you are faced with what with what feels like a risk, consider these three steps, and then make your decision:

  1. What is the upside of the risk?

There has to be something to be gained to make any risk worth considering. Perhaps it’s a new approach to delivering projects. Perhaps it’s an innovative way to reduce costs, or maybe it’s giving your team the latitude for the first time to soar as high performers. Whatever it is, to be high performers at work, we need to be clear and unbiased in evaluating what benefits and potential are found in any risk.

  1. What is the downside of the risk?

In the same way that there is always something to be gained to make any risk worth considering, there is always a downside. If there wasn’t there would not be any risk to begin with. As clear and unbiased that we need to be in evaluating the benefits of taking a risk, we need to be equally clear and unbiased in cataloging what might go wrong. When we do, we accomplish two things: we understand the risk at its core as well as positioning ourselves to mitigate it.

  1. Don’t be half-hearted

A number of years ago I had the pleasure of working with a talented lady who brought energy skill and determination to every project she worked on. Along with those very positive attributes she also brought, unfortunately, a willingness to second-guess nearly every decision she made. That second-guessing sapped energy and diluted the successes she was able to achieve. If you are going to take a risk and you determined both the upside and the downside, jump in with both feet and don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t be half-hearted – trust your instincts and drive to the finish. It’s worth it!

Is it worth the risk? Only you know for sure.

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After 20 years of progressive leadership within the Canadian Public Service, as an executive and thought leader, Bruce has turned his attention to full time writing, speaking, training and business advisory services. Focusing his work on his long term passion for leadership development, has led to an ongoing focus on exploring current leadership topics through his leadership blog TheModernLeader.ca, and his newly released book - Leadership Hack: Leading the Millennial Tribe. Bruce holds two masters degrees, along with a professional designation in project management. Bruce calls Ottawa, Ontario Canada home, where he shares his life with his wife Susan, and his two university aged daughters.

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