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Recognizing that the risk is worth the reward

Written by Roman Stanek  | 

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Recognizing that the risk is worth the reward

Sometimes the hardest thing to do at work is to take a risk and try something new. After all, no one wants to go out on a limb and fail, but sometimes a calculated risk can pay off and lead you down an exciting and fruitful path. In my most recent Forbes Technology Council article, I talk about the need for companies to create an environment where employees at every level feel comfortable taking risks—educated risks, of course.

Often this comes down to the CEO or management team leading by example, but—as it is for all employees—it can be a challenge for a CEO to feel comfortable as well. I’ve struggled with this as well, but I try to remember a piece of advice that one of our early investors shared with me: Always make new mistakes — with an emphasis on new. This personal philosophy has enabled me to build a company that supports risk-taking and rewards employees for pursuing new ideas.

So at the CEO level, how does one prove to employees that it’s okay to make what might turn out to be a mistake? Avoiding a culture of blame is a big part of this and a good first step to take. If employees make an honest mistake and they’re reprimanded or, worse, fired, that creates an environment where other employees are afraid to take chances or reveal something new that they’re trying.

The effort to create this culture starts at the top with senior management. In my role as CEO, if I blame my leadership team for for taking a risk which doesn’t work out as expected, they in turn blame their teams and so on down the organization. A CEO needs to take setbacks in stride, keeping the focus on the big picture.

And while it can be uncomfortable to shift to this way of thinking, the data supports the importance of risk taking. The CEO Genome® project, a 10-year study of high-performing CEOs by ghSMART consultants Elena Botelho and Kim Powell, found that CEOs who considered setbacks to be failures had a 50% smaller chance of thriving. So whether you’re a CEO or not, the next time you want to try something unusual at work, remind yourself that companies can’t get to the point of pitching a groundbreaking new product or solution unless they are willing to take a calculated risk.

Written by Roman Stanek  | 

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Go back to Blog's hub Blog   |   tags:  

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