3 Tips for Doing Something Risky
Some people are natural risk-takers. Some people live for that rush of adrenaline they get when they make a bold decision or do something risky. Some people love to walk that line.
Others, are natural risk-avoiders. Other people love the comfort of their own zone and they won’t typically feel the need to step out of it.
Fortunately for some, and unfortunately for others, risk is out there. Sometimes there are new opportunities that need to be taken. Sometimes there are bold moves to be made. Sometimes, whether we live for it or avoid it at all costs, we just have to take a risk.
The good news is, regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, we’ve got 3 tips for doing something risky and managing it appropriately.
1. Who's done it?
It’s almost always helpful and reassuring to hear of other experiences before taking the plunge ourselves. Talking to someone else who’s done whatever we are about to do, not only helps us shape our decision and feel better about our undertaking, but it turns out, getting someone else’s opinion first is a legitimate communication technique. It’s known as the Delphi method and here’s how it works.
- In round 1, a panel of experts (or experienced friends, family, or teammates) individually share their experiences, predictions, and opinions with a facilitator (that’s you!).
- Next the facilitator anonymously reports back to the experts a summary of all the things shared during round 1.
- In light of the other responses, the experts share their round 2 opinions and predictions with the facilitator.
This process could be repeated, but eventually, you will likely find your panel of experts will start to share a similar opinion and your “correct answer” will rise to the surface, giving you just the reassurance you need. For more on the Delphi method, check out this Wikipedia page, or this article from the Project Management Institute.
2. What can go wrong, may (or may not) go wrong.
Before you make the move, replay your past experiences. What went wrong? What went right? What can you plan ahead for? Take a second to conduct a little retrospective so that you can be prepared for this next time around. Two quick words of warning:
- If you have a bit of risk aversion – Don’t let this tip trip you up. If you already don’t like making risky moves and then you are asked to think about all the things that could go wrong, that sounds like a great time to abandon ship altogether. Don’t let this happen. Acknowledge the potential outcomes and then start to plan for them (See tip #3).
- If you have a risk affinity – Don’t gloss over this step. Be sure to spend some intentional time here thinking about all the potential outcomes, both negative and positive. Being a natural risk-taker does not automatically counter-act any potential negative outcomes. You still have to plan for them (See tip #3).
3. Repeat after me…
Plan for your risky action before you act. This action plan doesn’t have to be formal or complicated. In fact, it’s as simple as stating your risks well, in an actionable and effective way. Start by completing these three little phrases.
- If ___(cause)___
- Then ___(effect)___
- And so, ___(response)___
Stating your risks in this way allows you to acknowledge what might cause a given outcome, the effect it might have, and plan for your response well in advance. Here are a couple examples:
- If I don’t leave work until 5:00, then there will be traffic and it will take me an hour to get home. And so, I will leave by 4:30 to make it home by 5:00.
- If our lead developer gets pulled off to another project, then we won’t have the skills on the project team to complete the work. And so, we’ll have the developer begin training a 2nd team member to do the work.
We hope these three tips have given you everything you need to identify if a risky move is right for you, acknowledge all the potential outcomes, and then be able to plan for them. Give it a go and let us know how it goes!