We recently developed a programme for one of our Clients with a focus on risk-taking. The brief was to explore the team’s perceptions and mind-set around risk-taking at an individual and organisational level.

Some of the areas covered

  • What are the differences between personal risk and business risk?
  • How might personality influence your propensity to take risk?
  • Defining ‘you as risk-taker’ – summing up what risk means to each of the team on a personal level
  • Where would you place your organisation on the ‘risk spectrum’?
  • What might the barriers and enablers be to taking risk?

Why was ‘risk’ an important focus area? Our Client summed it up pretty perfectly…

“Risk relates to disruption and innovation. It encourages us to think differently, explore how we might challenge the status quo and create something completely new within our sector. In a nutshell, risk is an essential ingredient for continuous business growth”.

With risk comes potential failure

One key theme to surface during the day was the fear of failure in relation to risk. There was a light bulb moment for the team in understanding that failure doesn’t always have to be perceived as a negative.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

The question then became, how do we become more ‘risk-positive’ in our approach? Some ideas from the team were:

  • Ask opinions from those who might test your assumptions or beliefs
  • Be willing to do something new and different and accept the challenges that may come with that
  • Be committed as a team – recognise where you can support one another in helping work through any apprehensions or fears you have
  • Trust your instincts – just trying it out and not relying so heavily on research before taking the leap

Understanding the barriers and enablers to risk

Through a relatively simple (but effective, of course!) exercise devised by the Maier crew, the team split into groups – one focussed on ‘barriers’ and the other ‘enablers’ – they would then switch half way through the exercise.

They were both given the same live business scenario, deemed to have an element of potential risk to it. Each group brainstormed the potential barriers and enablers for moving forwards with the scenario.

Key take outs:

  • Shifting perspective from barriers to enablers isn’t easy! Changing mind set and approach can hugely influence how you perceive a situation.
  • It’s always important to weigh up the pros and cons, but instead of stopping at the barriers think of how you will overcome them.
  • The exercise was an excellent way of working through a problem at pace – splitting into groups allowed for different perspectives to surface and switching half way through to see what the other group had noted gave them rich discussion to expand on and explore in moving forwards.

Outcomes from the day – the feedback speaks for itself:

“What a great away day! So many of the team have said that it’s been their favourite session so far and that they really learnt a lot from it, not only about themselves but about each other and the strategy. So a huge thank you from all of us for the time and effort spent”.