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Catch the Waves – 5 Steps Toward Intelligent Risk Taking

 Catch a Wave - TBL Leadership PartnersI held tightly to his forearm as we bobbed and jumped in the wet playground of waves.  I gazed in wonder at the sea foam as it danced back and forth from crest to shore before disappearing on the golden sand.  I was but a tiny spec on the edge of the Atlantic and from where we played my feet could not reach the ocean floor.  My father’s firm hold kept me safe and made me bold to go deeper.  My first memories of the ocean are rich with excitement…the thrill of trying something new and the joy of exploring a world of water and waves.


Leadership requires risk-taking, and unfortunately, it does not always feel as “safe” as I did that day from security of my father’s strong arms.  How do you ride the waves of risk-taking without being taken under?


1.  Analyze the potential gains and the potential costs.  Measure what the risk is worth.  Understand the potential costs behind taking the risk, as well as the expected gains from success.

2. Consider both sides of the coin.  Understand the implications of both taking the risk, as well as not taking the risk.  We commonly consider the potential consequences of taking the risk, but what about those that lie within the decision to NOT take the risk?

3.  Communicate your vision.  What do you see the organization achieving in taking the risk ahead?  Articulate your vision clearly and concisely.

4.  Plan to mitigate the risk.  Engage the organization in creatively establishing plans to minimize or eliminate the risks.   A little careful planning goes a long way toward offsetting potential negative consequences of risk-taking.

5.  Recognize and reward intelligent risk-taking.  Foster a spirit of risk-taking by encouraging others when they step out and willingly consider and take risks.



Here’s to finding and catching your next wave!