What do you do when you have a free weekend at the end of March? What I do is go hill walking in the Lake District with my best friend. Following the maxim that there is no such thing as the wrong weather only wearing the wrong clothing, we set out to walk and climb nearby hills. To say it was wet would be an understatement. Due to a biblical amount of rain in preceding days, paths were now a little treacherous. The possibility of losing your boot in a bog was more and more likely. In assessing routes off the hill, risks of sliding downhill or stepping in a bog had to be considered. It was an amazing day, and I am happy to say we made it down safely.
“Leadership is the willingness to put oneself at risk.” John Maxwell
It reminded me that risk is an inherent part of leadership. In your leadership journey you will at some point have assessed the risk and put yourself forward to lead despite potential failure, possible damage to your reputation, and wondering if you are able to pull this off. But here is the thing that anyone who leads or starts a business understands, you can’t succeed in business without taking the risk of attempting new things.
Five ways Business Leaders & Owners Reduce Risk
1. Research – any new business starts with an idea, either a product or a service which is new or an adaptation. Getting out into your potential marketplace and finding out what people think will give you primary feedback on whether this might fly or not.
2. Know yourself – any good leader will tell you the key to leading well is to know yourself. It is important to know what you are likely to do as your default self. You may have a tendency to generate a hundred good ideas before breakfast but how are you at thinking through how they will work? You could be a leader who suffers from analysis paralysis, who will help you lift your head so you can see where you are going? Knowing your preferences will enable you to bring others in to help you evaluate the risk in your enterprise.
3. Have a plan – it doesn’t have to be 50 pages long. It does need to spell out why you are taking the risk of doing something new, what you expect to achieve, and how you are going to do it. Very few plans remain intact once they hit the reality of your market. The planning though means you understand where you are going and can be agile in changing tack in order to succeed.
4. Be equipped – as much as possible do the training and talk to people who have been there before you. Invest in yourself so you have principles which will give you a better chance of navigating the challenges and obstacles which come your way in any new venture or project.
5. Take the first step – you will never have perfection before you launch. It is with your intended clients you will learn to iterate and adjust. Celebrate how far you have come, assess the risks and then take the first step.
Risk is not something that should paralyse you as a business owner or leader. To get somewhere no-one has been before or attempt something that hasn’t been done before needs the risk assessing. Once done you need courage to jump in anyway. A greater tragedy than attempting the risky path is doing nothing and wondering all the while what could have been.
“Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised.
Usually it implies some risk – especially in new undertakings.” Walt Disney
Assessing risk and getting clarity on your journey is successfully achieved through coaching. Contact me email@example.com to explore.