Hedging your risk to hedge your career.

5 11 2014

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt.  Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” ~Robert Hughes

Many of us have seen new managers who take quick action when dealing with staff… with absolute confidence that they did the right thing… and it’s the absolute wrong thing.  More seasoned leaders might spend days (and nights) agonizing over a decision, when they know in their heart that it’s the only thing to do…  They take the time to try to find any other way to deal with the issue, because they’re not confident that they’re right – they worry they might be missing something.

Often in leadership, the quick, easy answer is the wrong one.  If leadership were easy, everyone would be an excellent leader. When you think you have it figured out, take a minute to ask yourself “what can go wrong if I move forward”.  Poke holes in your theories, and worry about the worst case scenario if you’re wrong.  If you can’t afford the worst case scenario – don’t do it without mitigating the risk as best you can.  The amount of time and energy that you invest in preventing a disaster should be up to, but not more than the chances of the disaster happening times the amount of money and energy you’ll lose if it happens.  A 10% chance of losing $1 million dollars is probably worth up to $99,999 in “insurance” or other preventative measures (like generators, UPS’s, legal fees for those disclosures, etc.).  If you spend your career playing the odds – “Why spend time & money on a 10% chance of disaster.” – it will be a short career indeed.

Speaking of consolation…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com




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