Risk Aversion is Holding Your Organization Back

Risk Aversion is Holding Your Organization Back

Guest post by Angie Morgan Witoski

Angie will come to Jerome for the 2nd Annual Leadership Symposisum on September 21. Reserve you tickets today.

One of the most important qualities represented in leaders is their ability to make decisions.  The challenge is that many leaders are afraid.

They’re afraid of embarrassment.   They’re afraid to fail.  They’re afraid of disappointment.  They remember times when they’ve made poor choices, so, what do they do? They play it safe.  They make decisions that produce incremental outcomes.

But is that what your business needs?

I learned how to lead in the Marine Corps.  Our leadership curriculum was centered on decision-making, more particularly on how to take calculated, measured risks so you can find the advantage in any scenario.  What was the goal?  To win.  

If your organization is seeking to breakthrough, you need leaders who know how to take risks. In our business world, we understand risk-mitigation.  We understand how to manage risk and business exposure. What we haven’t fully grasped is how to lead with risk and innovate away from the status quo so our organizations can truly transform.

To level set, let’s talk about what risk is: It’s a decision that leads us into uncertainty.  That’s it.  It’s not the scary monster in the closet that is coming to take down an organization.  It’s a bold, invigorating decision that communicates progress, change, and a better future.  

There are three common misconceptions about risk that hold leaders back:

  • They believe risk is the opposite of reward.  Wrong.  Risk is the path to reward.  Every great outcome we experience is because someone learned how to take a thoughtful risk.   They had the audacity to believe a better future was possible and honor their convictions with actions.  
  • They believe that risk is a leap.  Wrong again.  Risk done right is through needs assessment, thoughtful planning, and coordinated execution. It’s not rip the Band-Aid off … it’s baby-step your way to success.
  • They believe we can avoid risk.  We co-exist with risk every single day.  We can’t avoid it, we live with it.  Because we coexist with it, we should learn how to work with it and use risk-taking to our advantage.

To build risk-takers in your organization, here are a few resources I’ve written that are curated just for you:

  • Five ways to build risk-takers in your organization – CEO World
  • What you’re missing out on by not taking risks – Forbes

And if you’re looking for risk-taking inspiration, click here.  Let’s get going, friends – let’s take some risks and get back to winning.