People who Don’t take risks are making the bigger mistake


When we ‘take a risk’ we are stepping into the unknown of the world as it is going to be, leaving behind the safe comfort of the world as we have known it used to be. This can seem risky. But is it really?

When the world around us is changing so much, there will inevitably be times when we need to change, if only to keep up.

So how can we manage our perception of risk, and the actual risk?

Susan Jeffers told us in 1987 to “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway“, which is good advice but it doesn’t necessarily help us know which risks to take and which not.

Seth Godin sees it as being an issue of an attitude we can choose:

  • Do we see the future as risky and frightening? Was yesterday was a lot better than today?
  • Or is tomorrow likely to be better? Is the future an exciting opportunity?

But again, over-optimism might not always serve us well.

The Churning’s approach is to see our perception of risk as something that is partly emotional and partly rational. It provides tools for managing both (see below).

And the bottom line, as Peter Drucker pointed out, is that people who take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who don’t take risks make about the same.

In a time of churning, when everything is changing, it is the people who don’t take what seem like risks, but sit with the way the world used to be, who are likely to make the more and bigger mistakes.

The Churning provides tools and frameworks that help you address risk in several ways.

First, each chapter of inner leadership has tools for managing our emotions around fear and risk:

  1. Letting go of the fear, simply releasing it.
  2. Analysing your thoughts to work out where you are making (fearful) mis-interpretations, what alternatives are possible, and what is most likely.
  3. Identifying ten opportunities to move forward from whatever situation you are in — opportunities instead of risks.
  4. Identifying what advice your 84 year old self would give you now, and what it will take for you to have lived a worthwhile life. If that is worth having you are going to have to take a ‘risk’.
  5. Identifying your purpose and values: what matters most to you, even if it is difficult.
  6. Creating an inspiring vision of what you want, using seven core building blocks.
  7. Carrying out a ‘ritual’ to allow yourself to let go of life as it used to be, or knowing how to navigate yourself across the liminal zone into incorporation.

Outer leadership contains tools and frameworks for rationally managing the organisation:

  1. Focusing less on predicting exactly what the world is going to be like and more on identifying the skills, qualities, competencies that are going to be important for succeeding in that world.
  2. Tools and frameworks for identifying and managing risks.
  3. Tools and frameworks for seizing opportunities (which come from helping other people address their risks).
  4. Tools and frameworks for re-visioning the organisation.

There will always be uncertainties, especially in a time of change. But when you know you have the capabilities you need the perception of risk reduces, because you know no matter what happens, you will be able to succeed.

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