Every leader operates on a set of habits that he has developed over the years. Some come from success and failure, some come from observation, some come from his personal desire to develop good habits, or get rid of bad habits. Few of his leadership habits come naturally to him. They are things he does over and over until he does them automatically.
I am suggesting that there are ten habits that a leader has to develop. There are no doubt more depending on who makes the list. Habit #8-UNDERSTANDING RISK is a habit that takes a lot of work. It is through trial and error that a ‘gut feeling’ is developed that will help the leader know when to move ahead and when to hold back.
So, for the next 21 days, the length of time they say it takes to develop or change a habit, try these things.
1. When you have a decision to make, work at projecting out to see absolute success. We all want that. Now, see if you can figure out if there may be a ‘down side’ to success via this decision. For example: an added ‘great’ opportunity may destroy another area. In your mind go out to the end result, the point of success, and look around. What is happening? Is it as good as you thought it would be. What did you have to give up to get here?
2. Do the same thing and think about what happens if this decision leads to absolute failure. The whole thing blows up. Whatever could go wrong, goes wrong. What has happened to your people? What has happened to your organization? Has any of it been a good experience? What could you have done differently?
Working those two mental day dreams will help you understand risk. Now, is the opportunity worth it? Don’t get me wrong…most success comes with risk. I am not suggesting you sit tight and play it safe because, if you do, your organization will die. I am encouraging you to understand both sides of risk. There will always be good and there will always be bad.
3. Finally, measure how you deal with your personal fear level. Do you become paralyzed by fear? Does fear stop you from moving ahead or from making a decision? Or, have you figured out that fear serves as a warning system to put us on our guard as we move forward so we are more alert, more careful, perhaps moving a bit slower, but, to keep moving forward.
Risk…the key to doing things better and better, because that is where we learn.
Next important habit #9-Know your purpose