“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” – Napoleon Hill.
Dear Readers, once again, I dedicate this to all entrepreneurs and CEOs of businesses in Ghana. Your business may be down due to some problems but you as a person are not OUT! Many people associate risk with negatives, but sometimes they are golden opportunities to rise to a level not even dreamt of. A successful person picks from the lessons learnt from the risk-taking and rises again to a higher level from where he fell from.
FUNDAMENTALS OF RISK TAKING (CONTD)
Appreciating the value of risk
Although there is excitement in taking adventures, many successful people sit down with their risk persons to understand the potential dangers involved in new projects and products. Instead of shunning these, they ask one decisive question: “What can we do to mitigate them?” That is the game changer because it takes them to a different level. These game changers are usually authentic and not copy cats, repeating old ideas and spinning them as new. They focus their efforts on changing the status quo and they encourage diversity of thought.
As Mike Myatt, a contributor in Forbes magazine wrote in “6 Steps for Creating a Game Changer” …G “At one time or another all great leaders experience something so big and so impactful it literally changes the landscape – it’s what I call a “Game Changer.” A game changer is that ah-ha moment where you see something others don’t. It’s the transformational magic that takes organizations from ordinary to exceptional”.
Identify the risks.
Successful people are part of the brainstorming sessions on risk identification. They don’t just delegate this important part of the process. They ask relevant and searching questions and send their men on the ground to learn of how others have managed those risks in the part and do not re-engineer the wheel. They think ahead, yet taking note to avoid the mistakes of others. They are not afraid of being told what others did and mistakes they made along that trodden path. They say quietly to themselves… “Dare to be different”. It is like fire prevention. You go round the building identifying potential fire hazards and plan the mitigants as well as how to fight the fire if it occurs. This advance evaluation puts some businesses ahead of the pack. In addition, consideration of any losses in advance is a normal part of business strategy.
Detailed Planning to include potential failure
Successful people acknowledge the fact that they cannot do it alone. Their strategic planning on risk management involves the key “generals” on the job to conduct detailed planning. The good old “Gantt Chart” comes in easy for “Old Timers” like us. This chart, which indicates the various activities and period of implementation. I also recommend a section for any eventuality. Instead of being rigid about the plan, why don’t you factor in a plan in case of any eventuality so that the plan is realistic and achievable?
Take the Plunge
Successful people, please take the risk! Of course with both eyes open wide. After all the careful planning and detailed consideration, start implementing the plan and watch the results unfold. The results might be different from your expectations. Sometimes the plan could fail completely or be full of pleasant surprise. Whatever the result, please continue to accept the process of taking risks as a part of your business strategic plan. It is a game changer. The practice of risk-taking ultimately builds confidence and success as a company learns to set itself apart from the competition
Not giving Up
Successful people need to leave their comfort zones despite the danger signals about risks. To beat the competition, successful people do not give in. They actually study the market in detail and produce new products that are carefully analyzed to suit the needs of their target market. They believe in themselves and never give up even after a few failures.
Risk can uncover new markets, new audiences, and new capabilities Succesful people are willing to fail in order to eventually succeed.
MASTERING THE ART OF RISK CALCULATION
Do you know that risk is not such a terrible thing if you view it from the right perspective? Most people look at it from the perspective of what they stand to lose if it doesn’t work out. But we also need to ask “what do I stand to gain if it DOES work out?” According to Eric Deschamps – Business Coach, Ottawa, people who achieve greatness take calculated risks. They think things through and evaluate their options. They research and gain the knowledge they need to make an informed decision. They weigh the pros and cons. They ask the following three questions:
- What’s the best-case scenario?
- What’s the worst-case scenario?
- What’s the most likely scenario?
The above questions can be looked at in another way: I will call it the “Look before you Jump guide” It is a guide which risk takers use before they take the final decision to jump. It has been tried and tested by many successful people, who balanced the adventurism with realistic insights before they finally leapt into success and fame.
- The Benefits: Consider every possible positive benefit you stand to receive. Make sure to consider the financial, emotional and physical upside. What’s the best-case scenario?
- The Negatives: there are always a few possible negative consequences. That’s why they call it RISK. Make another list of these, again thinking about all the possible things that could go wrong, and what would happen if they did. Could you handle it? What’s the worst case scenario?
- The Balancing Act:weigh the benefits against the negatives, compare the two lists and see which one has the strongest likelihood of coming to fruition. Would the gains be worth the risk? Would you be able to handle the negative consequences if they did happen? Are there any options for a middle ground decision that would minimize the risk without derailing the momentum? Would you like to take the project in phases and throw away the consequences and press on? What will be the exit strategy if it fails?
- Re-examine the Negatives: Are your fears realistic or imaginary? Is it really a big deal?
- Get the Right Mindset: Go with your gut feeling if you must and take a decision.
- Stay Focused: Don’t let your mind be derailed. Get into action and plunge ahead.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL RISK MANAGERS
I am in love with one of Nelson Mandela” s wise sayings: “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”—Nelson Mandela
Let us look at some characteristics of successful persons and risk managers and appreciate what characteristic traits they exhibit on the job:
- They are guided by their Principles. It is not enough telling others about your principles when your actions will speak differently.
- They learn from mistakes, and convert them into a learning experience after examining the root causes.
- Respect others’ differences.
- They roll with the punches. They mourn their losses and practice successful recovery. They believe that failures are temporary in life and not final.
- High Tolerance level: They work around those who are difficult, and praise those who you enjoy working with. Sometimes they let go of their egos so that the collective can thrive.
- They rise above intimidation.
Dear CEOs, I will leave you with extracts from Eric Deschamps, “Many people have goals. Only few ever achieve them. Many people dream. Few people ever turn those dreams into reality. Successful people understand that risks must be taken in order to pull a dream out of the world of the ethereal into the realm of the natural. It is one thing to have a vision. It is a different matter altogether to be a visionary. Take a moment to revisit your goals and dreams. As you review them, think through what risks you may have to take in order to accomplish them. Are you willing to risk ridicule, failure, misunderstanding, etc.? If you are, you can experience success and the thrill of proclaiming, “Wow… what a ride!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of two books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story”. She uses her experience and practical case studies, training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations ethics and fraud.