Taking Risks

1. Be aware of the pros and cons of risk-taking.
Risk-taking means moving relative security to less secure position. But, in order to advance there’ll be times when you must place yourself, even your organisation at risk. The alternative – choosing not to show leadership – will no doubt result in fewer risks and greater security, but it’ll also mean the loss of opportunity to bring about needed improvement in your organisation.

2. Confront fear first – then bite the bullet.
Fear is demotivating factor in any situation. People who don’t learn to confront fears may go through life in the company of embarrassment, failure, rejection, disapproval, uncertainty, and myriad of other doubts. Confronting fear is precursor to taking risks. So if you find yourself hesitating about taking risk, ask: ?What am I really scared of?’ By isolating and facing up to that fear, by weighing the disadvantages and the advantages, you can decide whether or not the risk – the calculated risk – is worth taking.

3. Ensure the risk is justified.
Remember that risk-taking can be something of gamble and that one of the rules of gambling is never risk more than you can afford to lose. Size up the odds, the rewards, and the risks. Don’t risk lot for little, particularly useful advice when you’re sticking your neck out only to take revenge, save face, or on matter of principle.

4. Forget the rules.
The thing about risk-taking is that there are no rules. In fact, risk-taking often involves breaking or stretching any existing rules to breaking point. It’s all about change. And to bring about change, you can best assess the risks by becoming an observer of human and organisational behaviour. If you understand the way your superiors, peers or subordinates work and think, then you can venture guess as to how they will react to any breathtaking initiative you undertake or propose.

5. Determine in advance just how far you can go.
Risk-taking often involves threatening certain existing values resources and vested interests, and many people dislike change when it upsets their way of thinking, work style or life pattern. So it’s important to gauge upfront just how far you can push these boundaries. History is punctuated with stories of risk-takers who stepped where angels feared to tread.

6. Know your limitations.
A long shot is one thing, no-win situation is quite another. So, if you figure you’ll be outclassed, outfoxed, outranked, under-resourced, or undermined, then don’t be rash. Step back and rethink your strategy.

7. Prepare contingency plan – just in case.
Suppose your risk doesn’t pay off. How can you save face, cut your losses, or cash in your chips? Be prepared, by having range of alternatives and contingencies to reach compromise.

8. Jump in and maximise the impact.
Once you’ve decided to take the risk, use whatever techniques necessary to instil confidence in those around you to keep your momentum. It’s not only what you say, it’s how you say it. So be dramatic, stylish and enthusiastic.

9. Gain and remain in control.
You’re taking the risk so try and control as many variables as possible. Use power and influence – your own and that of your boss, and by your actions, earn the authority of key players.

10. Learn to live to fight another day.
Fights are rarely won in the first round; the winner is the one still there at the end. So, unless it’s winner-take-all situation, don’t be discouraged if your venture doesn’t come off. The important thing is where you stand over the long haul. Remember the turtle gets nowhere if it doesn’t stick its neck out.

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