The biggest risk is not risking

Published: December 8th, 2010

Bill Treasurer, the CEO of Asheville, N.C.-based leadership advice firm Giant Leap Consulting Inc., recently sent me a few tips he dishes out to employers about promoting courage.

The first tip advises employers to emphasize the “risks of not risking” to their employees. Treasurer argues that the risk of inaction is usually more perilous than risk of action and that managers should emphasize the dangers of not taking risks when assigning tough tasks.

His second tip asks employers to build on their existing strengths and capabilities when giving them risky projects. “It’s easier to be courageous with even a little experience on a big task,” Treasurer said.

While both of these tips are geared toward employers, employees can actually take even more out of them. Taking the initiative to tackle challenging projects and speaking up on issues that matter to your organization will more often than not boost your standing within the company and help build trust with your employer.

For me, this technique can also work in the business/IT relationship.

IT leaders need to avoid falling into the same routine with the way they think about solving problems. I recently spoke to Forrester analyst Gene Leganza who told me that the traditional “IT way of thinking” is about keeping the lights on and reducing costs.

He argued that this needs to change, as IT leaders should be enticing business leaders about things their business can’t do today and how to get there. “Concentrate on what they will be able to do in 2013 that they can’t do today,” Leganza said.

The only way to do this is to have the courage and the initiative to jump in and try.



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