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Risky Business

In life, simply put, you have to take risks. There’s simply no way around it. Without the ability to embrace what risks bring, growth and development are much more challenging.

Risk Management, whether in business or life, is about accepting, understanding, evaluating and dealing with risk in order to, as much as possible, assure that goals are reached, missions are accomplished and growth is assured. This makes it incredibly important in the process of creating and moving anything from where it is to the next level of where it can be.

Risk is necessary in reaching potential.

In this day and age, being risk averse can really cost you. So, what does it look like to have a healthy relationship with risk?

Well, first it means having the capacity to “get ahead of the goat.”

If you’ve ever raised goats, you’ll know what I mean. They are amazingly smart, curious and can cause a whole lot of damage, if given the chance.

So, to out think the goat, you’ll need:

• To have an excellent understanding of what you’re dealing with and how making changes might affect it.
• A strong sense and focus on problem-solving and strategic planning, not reacting or “stuffing.”
• To be able to think both realistically and creatively.
• To have good, open communication – both with yourself (getting really honest internally) and with others.
• To be willing to accept, integrate and work with what IS, as well as what COULD BE.
• To be able to embrace the concept of pressure as an opportunity to create something new, learn, stretch and grow.

In addition to the items mentioned, the approach taken in the practice of managing risk makes all the difference.

Those who try to control vs manage will create a culture and leave a legacy that reflects this.

Have you ever interfaced with a company, organization or individual that was clearly only out to “protect” its own? That’s an example of control, not management. Effective management (whether it be of our own lives or our businesses) asks the question, “what can we create and how can we create it, in order to serve the greatest outcome/the greatest good?” It does not contemplate or ask “how can we mitigate our greatest fears?”

Joseph Stalin is one of the most well-known dictators in history. Nelson Mandela, one of the most famous leaders.

Why has one gone down in history as a dictator and the other, a leader? Well, if we were to get to the basic core principle difference between the two, one controlled, while the other managed. It’s not about choosing a controlling style when managing risks, it’s about envisioning, guiding, directing and leading the charge … to something better.

This may seem obvious in our understanding of it, but not always a simple approach to take, especially when in environments where the emotions and stakes are extremely high.

When I work with individuals and teams, I have them, first, get clear and define their WHAT, HOW & WHERE, both personally and for the professional job at hand.

Some of the questions we use in the process are:

What – is the value and purpose of this particular goal/activity/engagement for me? What is my intended outcome or what opportunity do I have here to align my personal value with the mission (what value do I want to add and what do I want get out of this)? What am I “feeling” about what’s going on, & what needs to be addressed to support all aspects of this goal/activity/project/engagement?

How – do I want to go about approaching/achieving this goal/activity/engagement and how do I want to perceive this opportunity? How do I want others to view me/this goal/activity/engagement in the end (outcome)? How do I want to speak my truth/put my value/the value of this decision/request out there? How am I being valued/treated/reacted to by others? How do I “feel” about this?

Where – am I going with this? Where is my value/the value of our efforts in this moment the greatest? Where do I want to lead this activity – to what purpose/end? Where is the value in this opportunity? Where do I want to be that will allow me to feel most valued/purposeful/respected/aligned? Where will my value and the value of what I/we are doing be best supported?

Having both the skills and willingness necessary to perform the functions inherent in managing risk in our lives, as well as a clear, well-defined approach that is aligned both personally and professionally to the desired outcome(s), will better ensure that the job is accomplished and risks are effectively managed. It will also allow us to feel more successful and empowered in our style or how we are choosing to manage ourselves and the situation.

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