Leaders Encouraging Creative Risks

Encouraging Smart Risks in the Workplace

“Research suggests that psychological safety and the willingness to take risks are potent antecedents to creative insight.”

– David Burkus

Many business leaders prefer to work using the same traditional ways to get things done. This helps you avoid or reduce risks and you know what results you achieve. In order to get higher performance, you need to take a bigger risk to thrive beyond where you have been. As a creative leader, you believe that in order to achieve greater breakthrough results, you need to take calculated risks.
Are you comfortable taking risks at work? Are your employees averse to taking risks to create the company’s products and services? Take into consideration that taking risks are important for creativity and innovation.

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

According to Salim Ismail “There are two main types of risk. There’s the classic “let’s just go for it” risk that entrepreneurs take to build a new business. Then there’s constant risk, where entrepreneurs make small process changes but don’t bet the company on it.”
Many employees just like most executives are risk-averse. Yet, in order to survival beyond survival mode you need to take some risk. Many businesses recently are on a downhill slide toward bankruptcy. They never expected to see this take place. They did not believe in taking any risk until it was too late.

“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”

― Neil Gaiman

When leaders allow their employees to generate ideas to solve problems, challenges and difficulties of situations and then create and produce the end result, this is a risk you are allowing to happen. In creative organizations, risk taking is encouraged by leaders because you trust your employees to use their creative potential to get work done.

Success won’t fall into your lap unless you pursue it. Taking risks may be a necessary step toward actively pursuing success. Just like asking someone for business or in trying to sell a product or service you are putting your reputation out to others. If the buyer likes what you sell, they in-turn will let other people know. That is a risk you take.

The term “risk” has a negative connotation attached to it. You need to look at taking a risk whenever you do anything. What most people don’t do is to take a calculated risk. This is where you have a back-up plan in case the first plan does not work the way you expect.

Take a Risk
Risks lead to empowered employees that lead to engaged employees that lead to profits for your company. To start, your employees need to know what exactly risk-taking means to you and in what situations you support it. Ask these questions: as employees need to know what the outcome is you are trying to achieve? Is the reward worth the risk? and Is there a small risk task they can take that would validate the idea for the solution they work to achieve?

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

-Mark Zuckerberg

Sticking to the Status Quo
Keep up with what you can do to stay ahead of your competition by challenging the norm. When it comes to taking risks, many prefer the status quo over the intimidation and unsteadiness of the unknown. This is where you now see businesses closing or at least they lose business to their competitors who use creativity to stay above the fray.

Comfort Zone
Being afraid to step outside your comfort zone is a risk employee’s and leaders need to make in order to do things different from what you are used to doing. This is a challenge most people run up against especially as you do things opposite than what you did before.

Your Willingness to Take Risks
Your willingness to take a risk demonstrates your creative expression. Creative and innovative organizations have a greater chance to be more competitive over others. By embracing the willingness to take a risk won’t matter if a mistake is made just as long as you learn from it.

To put it another way: creativity yields innovation. If you want your organization to be more innovative – you need your people to be more creative. Everyone has the capacity to be creative; they just need the right environment.

So how can we make your organization more innovative? At your core, you need creativity. You need to allow your employees to generate novel and exciting ideas. Some people develop their creative skills early in life. Others need help cultivating it later on.
Being creative is risky. So if you want your organization to be creative, you need to take the creative risk that is calculated. This means that you have a back-up plan in case the first does not work out the way you expect.

Never Stop Experimenting
Experimentation is particularly hard for big organizations, since they tend to focus on execution rather than innovation. To effectively marry execution with innovation, business leaders need to set experimentation processes in place.

Being encouraged by your company leaders to take necessary risks in order to be creative for producing a breakthrough result is a lot to ask someone who is not used to conducting business this way. It is a risk you need to be comfortable with. Allowing employees to take risks requires trust from senior leaders and executives. The biggest risk is not taking any risk at all.

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