Stop reducing risk

Reduce risk!

Feels good, right? You’ve heard this sentiment over the years. Your spouse, your boss, your financial advisor want to decrease risk for you (and ultimately for them).

If we can de-risk something like a job, a project, an investment, an interaction, then the probability is that we will be better off. Limiting risk equals more safety. Limiting risk improves our potential outcome!

But only for the moment.

And that’s the trick.

We all know what would have happened had you invested in Microsoft or Amazon when they were sprouting. But that would have been risky! What if you lost your $1,000? Taking that new job is risky since you already have five weeks of vacation and know how to play the game where you are at. But what could that new job do for you in 10 or 15 years?

Risk is a white collar term for fear and fear always keeps you home.

Reducing risk should never be the top level goal. The top level goal is something else and whatever it is will have risk attached to it. We aren’t trying to reduce risk, we are trying to understand it so we can responsibly do the things that matter.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on November 26, 2019

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