Many people find themselves with dreams and aspirations yet lack the motivation to achieve them. There are a number of reasons that this could occur (such as fear or lack of wherewithal), however, it can sometimes be the case that people are simply not working towards their goal in an efficient manner. If you’re going for extraordinary results in uncharted territories, then it’s going to require risk taking and an outside-of-the-box state of mind. Taking risks is means putting your reputation, your money, and/or your time on the line for a chance at success. You need to be bold and step out of your comfort zone.
Nothing new or great is ever achieved by doing things the same old way. As a leader you have to be willing to go out on a limb and try out new strategies. You have to have faith in yourself and in your team so that when you do step out into the unknown you’ll be able to develop the confidence and courage to transcend the mind’s artificial limitations. Getting extraordinary things done requires a drive and motivation to accept the possibility of failure and loss.
Being bold means having the courage and fortitude to stand tall in the face of adversity. If team members or competitors attempt to discourage you, boldness is needed to overcome the negativity and to add fuel to your internal fire. As the old saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Taking Risks Does Not Guarantee Results
When taking risks it’s important to understand that things may not work out the way that you intend them to. Some risks will result in dismal failure while others will only result in minor setbacks or a temporary loss of productivity. The important thing for bold leaders to remember is that every failure or setback is actually an opportunity in disguise. Good leaders recognize this and use these moments to learn and teach others from. For every failure that comes your way, you will have yet another example to share with others about what works and what doesn’t..
In terms of taking risks, I’m an advocate for taking calculated risks. This means that you don’t blindly go into any unknown territory. When Roald Amundsen and his team became the first people to reach the South Pole on December 14th, 1911, they didn’t do so blindly. Even though the route was uncharted, they planned for months and anticipated many of the challenges that they would face on their adventure. In business this could be the equivalent of surveying the market and gauging the potential demand for a new product or service before investing time and money into fully developing it. In an organization seeking to change the status quo, calculating the risk could mean having conversations with your supervisor, the executive management team, or outside investors about what you are planning on trying.
Establishing a Vision and Building Trust
Good leaders always dream big. However, having a solid vision of success and achievement is usually not enough alone. Great leaders realize that lofty goals require developing measureable milestones and implementing small, incremental steps over time to achieve. One of the best way to effectuate change in any organization is to do it slowly with many small changes rather than by employing a drastic change all at once.
When leading a team, risk taking will involve maintaining the utmost level of trust with your employees. You must have the kind of relationship with your employees that allows them to have confidence in you as well as themselves. If your employees trust you, they will work hard to see the vision for change and improvement come to fruition. Once you’ve established trust, you can declare your vision to the team and then start planning how you will get there. Your plan should be able to produce small wins that allow the team to enjoy success over the long term as you slowly grow closer to achieving your vision.
Fostering an Environment for Risk Taking
Leaders have to create the environment that will enable innovation and encourage risk taking. They need to have an eye for removing any barriers that inhibit the creativity contained within the organization. Work with your team to reward risk takers so that you can begin to foster an environment for taking risks. Encourage innovation within your team and be sure to let everyone know how important it is to be creative and to step out into the unknown. Explain to them that failures won’t be punished, but instead they will be celebrated. Give people the freedom to stretch the boundaries of their limits.
Consider the story of how Microsoft entered the video game console market. At a time when Sony and Nintendo ruled the home electronic gaming industry, the team at Microsoft took a gamble at developing their own console to compete. With a fierce marketing campaign and a heavy investment in hardware and software design, Microsoft released the original Xbox console in 2001. They took a risk and eventually their hard work and ingenuity paid off. Today, the Xbox brand is well known across the world as an important player in the video game industry.