Risk. It’s a scary word.
I’m not just talking about striking fear into the heart of managers when they realise two hours of their precious diary time has been dedicated to a meeting for “risk mitigation scenario planning”.
I’m talking about the very nature of risk. Traditionally it’s something we’ve been taught to avoid at all costs. Something huge and scary that barges in unannounced, destroying everything in it’s path.
There’s a few lessons here. First, we’ve convinced ourselves we can prevent risk. Second, we’ve ingrained in everyone that risk is a bad thing. And lastly, we’ve made risk incredibly boring.
With regards to risk, people don’t fall into one of two categories – either “risk taker” or “risk averse”. All people take risks, but these might be small risks, or only certain types of risk.
Consequences are a big factor. Some people give no thought at all to the consequences (i.e. they’re reckless). However most of us (either consciously or subconsciously) weigh up the risk and the outcome. Risk can bring success or failure, and the risk is, we often don’t know which.
But playing it safe is no longer, well, safe. Those who don’t take risks will be left behind. Business agility, flexibility, innovation…how can these initiatives even succeed in our brave new world without taking a little bit of a risk? We need to push the boundaries a little and trust others to do the same.
Making risk real again is the key. Both to preventing large scale disasters and encouraging others to take small risks in order to develop novel solutions. Risk isn’t a boring chore. It’s an exciting element of everyday life.
Image credit: http://www.bartcop.com