Risk Little, Win Little

By Andrew J. Birol, President, Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Today I was talking to one of my advisors about risk and the role that risk takers play in helping any business to succeed. One of the most interesting observations we made was noting the everyday reactions that businesses and employees have to risk. We came up with some interesting conclusions.

  • While risk takers get excited at taking new chances and the experienced ones learn to take good risks, the risk averse often get defensive when asked to take even a small chance.
  • Risk takers are envied by those who yearn to take risks and serve as great role models for those who have enough confidence to try.
  • The risk averse often grow to resent successful risk takers. Each time a risk taker is successful, he or she causes the risk avoider to question their approach.
  • The risk averse are often the first to rush to comfort risk takers who fail. While charity is a virtue, many risk adverse people gain great validation by comforting the risk takers.
  • In organizations where risk taking is discouraged, mediocrity, groupthink and the “not invented here” mentality is likely to result.
  • Risk aversion has nothing to do with being conservative, older, or powerful. Many who are liberal, younger, or powerless also remain locked in their comfort zones, no matter how miserable they are.
  • While respect for the Almighty, one's employer, or any legitimate institution or tradition is sensible, anyone who transfers their complete fate and destiny out of their own hands is fully risk averse. They are denying personal risk or responsibility by pushing it away from themselves. When we absolve ourselves of personal responsibility, we open the door to anarchy, fanaticism, and fatalism. Perhaps large corporations and governments can manage people like sheep, but no entrepreneur can or should.

Why is such an understanding of risk and how people react to risk taking so important to your business? As a business owner who needs to grow his or her business, you must surround yourself with risk takers and nurture those who try in your business. If you don't you are not helping your business to grow. At the core of entrepreneurism, competition, and even excellence, is the concept of risk. If employees will not assume some level of intelligent risk, how can they succeed or even serve you and your business? Think about it. Risk little, win little.

Articles by Birol Growth Consulting are © copyrighted and all rights are reserved. However, articles may be reprinted with prior written consent if attribution is included as follows:

© Copyrighted by Andrew J. Birol, President of Birol Growth Consulting, who helps owners grow their businesses by growing their Best and Highest Use ®. Andy can be reached at (412) 973-2080, by email at abirol@andybirol.com, or on the web at www.andybirol.com.

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