Having the courage and ability to take a risk.
Taking a risk in business or in any way of life is a scary thing to behold. For sure, we could spend hours just talking about the ‘what ifs’ or the ‘but what then’, however when taking the leap of faith into Innovation, we need guts. Guts to commit to an innovation programme.
At the end of the day, it might not work. There’s what we call a leap of faith. When we’re going into an innovation programme, we need that leap of faith when jumping from the downward curve of a product cycle into the development of the new one. We need guts and we need faith. Along with this, we need a touch of the Generosity Culture and a constant view on improving the situation. Why? Well, just committing to an innovation programme with blind courage and guts without trying to make improvements is, is more commonly known as just ‘hustling’.
A very well known saying goes, “without risk, there is no innovation.” Innovation is not guaranteed to succeed but without it, companies would fall apart, become a tail end of competition and find themselves at the end of the business lifecycle quicker than ever imagined.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go”.
What we need to understand is, Innovation cannot occur unless there is an element of risk to begin with. Whether it’s a new product or a change/upgrade to existing products– these will both be considered a risk. T.S. Eliot, American-English poet, playwright, literary critic, and editor once said; “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go”. We need to bare in mind when innovating, the level of risk can be mitigated by ensuring that all possible calculations have been made to evaluate whether it is the best option for us.
For most of us, risk in business is a case of ‘what if’ and is seen as a means of advancing our business in some way. No matter how calculated it is, you can never be sure that risk will pay off, however, there is only one way to find out. Through taking that leap.
When taking that leap, it is important to calculate the potential results and have contingency plans in place. While there are success stories of people taking the ‘ultimate’ risk, no risk which could see your business crumble is worth it. Calculated risks and being rash are two very different things.
Without risk, we will not experience failure and therefore will not learn from our mistakes. Of course, it is possible to learn from positive experiences too, however, failure teaches us a very powerful lesson that tends to stay with us for life. In addition, taking risks teaches us important skills such as how to calculate contingencies as well as strategic thinking and planning.
Generally speaking, many businesses take risks as it allows them to distinguish themselves from their competitors. In the competitive business environment that exists today, those who are willing to risk position themselves as leaders, while others get left behind. If you take a minute to think of a leader who you consider successful, chances are that they changed the way things were done for the better, and put themselves on the line during the process. This does not mean that all leaders take major risks on a regular basis, but it is safe to say that all leaders have taken at least one risk in their career which has helped them achieve their current position.
What about you?
Most of us in life take risks on a regular basis, and while not all of them turn out great, many have proven to be highly worth it and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
I’d love to hear of your experiences with risk throughout your career – both the good and the bad.