A key part of leadership is taking risks. Albert Eintstein defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. If we care deeply about something we will take a risk. If we have an illness and take the decision to take a drug that has potentially serious side-affects, we will take the drug if we feel it is a risk worth taking. In a work context we might speak out if we feel certain values that we care about are being dis-regarded. It is challenging sometimes to figure out what we care deeply about until we are faced with a situations which strike a chord with us.
Trevor Madigan of Facebook speaks about the culture of risk-taking in Facebook in the first part of this video clip. Facebook has demonstrated it’s willingness to take risks in pursuit of it’s mission “… to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” and not always with a successful outcome. Trevor asks the question ‘what would we do if we were not afraid?’ If we did not fear failure, the possibilities are endless.
In ‘The practice of Adaptive Leadership’ by Heifetz, Linsky and Grashow the authors suggest developing an experimental mind-set by ‘increasing our tolerance for a slightly higher level of risk-taking than we might have been comfortable with before’. They suggest small things to start with for example starting the day in a different way to usual e.g. getting up earlier or later or accepting invitations we would not usually accept. This type of low risk experimenting will shake things up a little and open us up to the possibilities that are out there.
I am now asking myself the question what new risks I will be willing to take this week in the interest of something I care deeply about?