3 Reasons Your Team Should Take Risks

Why fortune really does favor the bold

In 1974, a young director was working on a film that was far behind schedule, had doubled its budget and employed a mechanical shark that frequently didn’t work. The film looked like it would be a disaster…until Steven Spielberg’s Jaws became a cultural sensation and ushered in the blockbuster film era in Hollywood.

Often, risk leads to reward. So how can you employ this philosophy in your workplace? How can you empower your team to take Wright Brothers risks that triumph and not the Wile E. Coyote types that lead to catastrophe? We’ll give you 3 very good reasons to embrace smart risks.

The reality is being too conservative and risk-averse can exact a price. “Not taking action has costs that can be as consequential as taking risks,” author Anne Kreamer said in Harvard Business Review. “It’s simply less natural to calculate and pay attention to the “what-ifs” of inaction.”

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson has long talked about the importance of taking calculated risks. He views life as one long learning process that is full of challenges. Is your team inclined to take chances? Most of us are less bold than Branson, though that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act that way at the right times.

While no one should set out looking to venture recklessly, a little risk is a good thing. Here’s 3 reasons that risk can pay off:

#1 – When you break out of your comfort zone, you grow.

Change can be uncomfortable and even scary. It’s absolutely easier for a team to just stick to its routine. But smart risks are generally worth taking. As hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “One-hundred percent of the shots you don’t take won’t go in.” Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Encourage your team to take its shot.

#2 – Risk-takers are more content and satisfied with their lives.

This one is easy to understand. You don’t want to be sitting back in your easy chair decades from now thinking about the chance you didn’t take. Teams should feel that they have the backing of leadership to embrace risks worth taking. Having that gives people peace of mind. Win or lose, you tried.

#3 – Whether it works out or not, it’s a chance to learn.

No organization gets every decision 100 percent right, not even historic successes like Coca-Cola and Apple. The smartest teams are smart enough to realize they are always learning. When you stretch yourself you might push beyond your limits. But learning is a lifelong job. Savvy teams keep finding new opportunities to build on their strengths and improve on their weaknesses.

The experienced consultants at Catapult can help in these areas. Our talented team will work hand-in-hand with you to help instill a sense of fearless risk-taking in organizations of all sizes.

As the famed poet T.S. Eliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.”

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