5 Ways to Build Organizational Strength in Risk-Taking Arena

Time for Change

Because business, technology, and economics have changed so drastically, today’s leaders and organizations need to provide stability during times of chaos.

They need to excel at the implementation of change in shifting work environments. And they need to provide tenacity of purpose that offers surety and clarity in times of uncertainty.

Unfortunately, these practices aren’t in the average organization’s arsenal.

For many, it feels like they are moving through white water, experiencing significant paradigm shifts, leading at the edge, operating in chaos, and dealing with ever-increasing amounts of complexity. We’re living the headlines, book titles, and dire warnings we’ve heard over the past decade.

The Key: Increase Your Risk-Taking Capacity

It’s going to take courageous leadership to make these necessary changes happen. And, it’s not going to be an easy journey based on the results of this year’s Mindful Leadership Practices Survey.

Risk-taking is not the forte of the average organization.

Over 21% of respondents believed the following behaviors were rarely or never demonstrated in their organizations:

  • We are risk takers.
  • We confront each other, obstacles, and “undiscussable” in order to unlock progress.
  • We excel at helping tap their hidden talents and potential.
  • We take gutsy steps that make a difference.

Deep fundamental change of our organizational and leadership practices is going to take a whole lot of risk.

What Got Us Here…

Won’t get us to tomorrow.

  • Our organizational and leadership practices need to change.
  • They don’t need massaged.
  • They don’t need tweaked.
  • They need to experience a shift as significant as the business world in which we operate has experienced.

It’s Robert Quinn’s Deep Change concept applied to organizations.

5 Ways to Build Your Risk-Taking Arena

Here are five things you can do to help build organizational strength in the risk taking arena.

1) Learn from those who take risks (even if the outcomes aren’t always perfect). Invite them in to speak to the organization, hold a video conference, or host panel discussions to learn about:

  • How they view challenges
  • How they determine what they should do
  • What they think about as they push boundaries
  • What they do when things don’t look promising, etc.

2) Help people baby-step their way into increased confidence and skill in the risk arena. Most big risk takers learned their way there by taking earlier and smaller risks. Ask people to find:

  • One innovative method a year that makes a difference
  • One practice that they would recommend being dropped
  • One wacky idea that if implemented could make a significant difference

3) Ask yourself (or the greater organization) what may be preventing you from supporting innovative approaches that are controversial. Listen, really listen. Then, take a couple of gutsy steps that would truly make a difference.

4) Publicly recognize and reinforce risk-taking efforts – both those that are successful and those that are less than fully successful. Point out that there is always learning that can contribute to future success.

5) Foster an environment of experimentation. What needs to happen to unseat the need to be perfect before moving forward, the need to research before taking action, and/or the need to nitpick an idea before experimenting?

One of the greatest inhibitors to success is the fear that a new idea, approach, or technique will not be perfect. It won’t.

Collectively, we need all the help we can get. What other advice would you suggest?


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Rosaria Hawkins

Rosaria (Ria) Hawkins, Ph.D., is President of Take Charge Consultants
She helps organizations build mindful strategies to ensure long-term success
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Image Sources: ruaa12.files.wordpress.com

L2L Contributing Author