DateAugust 15, 2013
Great leaders are willing to take risks. Great ideas usually involve a certain amount of risk, but the reward is great for those who succeed. As the leader of your company, your job is to cast a clear and compelling vision, create a plan of action, and engage your team so that risk is minimized. Here are some of the great insights I’ve learned from spending time with members of our Renaissance Executive Forums CEO Peer Groups.
Risk Requires Courage
Be strong and courageous in the face of adversity. Leadership demands non-stop fortitude from day one. Courage is required to create a vision that others will follow and it takes real courage to take your vision forward and risk failure.
Be careful not to kill our own vision with doubt before it has the chance to succeed. If you have a dream, find others who will support you as you prepare to launch it, and let others help you, so you can, in turn, help others. That is one of the values of being in our peer to peer advisory groups, and having a safe place to share your dreams and plans.
A Solid Team Reduces Risk
Building a strong team will help reduce your risk. A good leader puts their followers in the best conditions to accomplish their goal. It’s these followers who ultimately get things done – so partner with them.” (See the article Follower Make Great Leaders Too.)
Ask your team to tell you early if there are issues, in order to avoid any surprises. You need to know the issues, but still leave the work in the hands of your capable team, and challenge them to create a plan to get things done. A good leader remains aware of the progress but lets the team get things done, instead of taking over when problems arise. This lets your team know you trust and believe in them, even in difficult situations.
Engage your team so each person knows they are an important part of the plan. Connect with your team members often so they see you are aware of them, that their work matters, and to give them feedback on their performance so they can see progress. This keeps people engaged and driving hard along side of you toward the goal.
Use your skills to multiply the effectiveness of your team members. As leaders, we will either diminish or multiply the work our employees do by the way we treat them. Being a multiplier requires that we work to draw out the good ideas and skills of others, and help them find their inner genius.
Focusing on your team is part of reducing your risk, and will get you better results from each team member, to help you reach the goals faster.
“If you make one real decision in your life, that’s more than most people.”
Be a Leader of Action
The risk is increased when you do not move ahead fast enough. Don’t get stuck trying to build a consensus with the team for so long that you fall behind. You may not have everybody on board with your vision when they ship pulls out, but if you don’t move ahead, you can miss the opportunity altogether.
Use your vision to create values that your team can follow. Then quickly move past vision casting, and into action. Too many leaders get stuck on dreaming of how things will be, and never take steps to make it a reality. Once you move to action, have the courage to stay on course when things get tough, and finish strong.
Update your team along the way so they stay motivated and focused. Set short and long-term goals and then praise the team, or give them a kick in the pants, based on the results along the way.
Risk Takers Unite!
If you’re a risk taker, you are in good company. Forbes had an article listing 39 Big Achievers who share the greatest risks they ever took. I’m sure you can relate to some of their comments as you reflect back to the challenges you’ve faced in leading your company.
Taking risks is something we all face and the journey can be tough, but if you have a vision you believe in, NEVER let anything get in your way.
Surround yourself with others who have faced the same challenges and succeeded. Get support and insights from others who will help you avoid the pitfalls, and reach your goals. Find other leaders who will keep you accountable and help you stay on course. Be Strong and Courageous, the risk is worth it.
by Robert Hunt
Jim Monk of Plustar in Dallas has built and sold two other companies…