A lot of times, the things that inhibit our ability to excel in our work, life and business are the walls that we place before and around us. Some walls are real and may be placed by organizational structures above us whereas other walls may be self-imposed. The bottom line to achieve success at work, in our life and in business is to be in alignment with either the will to be CAUTIOUS or the will to take RISK.
Megan Tull, business strategist and international speaker writes in the HuffPost: “In business, I’ve learned that while answers may need to be in black-and-white, there’s also my answer. And, though my answer may be different, maybe even a bit risky, it’s my risk to take and it’s my outcome to manage. That approach has served me well, and here’s why: Without trial and error — and risk taking — you remain stagnant, predictable and, ultimately, you will become complacent. Risks are about pushing yourself until you’re operating outside of your comfort zone — with good judgment of course — and allowing yourself to take a step that might feel uncomfortable at first. Growing and realizing your full potential requires it.
If you are in alignment with caution, you stay behind the walls and your imagination and freedom are limited. You are unable to release yourself and your thoughts. Being cautious puts you in a position of fear. It is a fear-based reaction that usually causes continuous self-doubt in an individual. Cautious people always question whether their actions and decisions are right or not. This contrasts with being careful. Being careful does not limit you and make you afraid. It simply allows you to be the very best performer by using researched facts and information to make sensible decisions. Caution on the other hand, simply handcuffs you with the fear of the possibility of being wrong and incompetent. That is the difference between being cautious and being careful.
Conversely, an alignment with high performance risk gives room for self-expression through soft skills. High performance risk is the path taken by people who are aware and in alignment with who they are. Risk Management Magazine discusses the DNA of a Risk Leader: Across all organizations and functions, around 40% of internally promoted leaders fail within the first 18 months. That figure rises to 50% for external hires. To effectively understand what makes a “good” risk leader, we took a deeper dive to explore what factors are linked to long-term success. Research in the field of leadership potential points to four key components:
Competencies: Learned behaviours, knowledge and skills that are critical to success in the role (e.g., strategic thinking, leadership).
Critical experiences: Make-or-break situations that leaders need to have encountered and navigated successfully to be prepared for leadership roles (e.g., managing a crisis, influencing other senior leaders).
Personal qualities: Character traits and abilities that differentiate the most effective leaders (e.g., interpersonal skills, motivation).
Derailers: Personal traits that can undermine leadership success (e.g., getting caught up in the detail, over-confidence).
Exploring each of these components can help identify which factors are most critical to risk leadership.
One of the major differences between people who take caution and those who take high performance risk is clarity and self-awareness. Seeking clarity is a simple process of being in tune with who you are by first taking the pains to discover yourself. Self-discovery may either be sourced by meditating and paying attention to your actions as well as interacting with people in your space and receiving constructive feedback. With high performance risk, it is imperative that you know what you want out of life. Only then would you be able to understand the amount of ground work necessary to achieve whatever goal it is you want. This process also requires a sharp sense of self-awareness, a state of cognizance of your personality, your thoughts, your beliefs and your emotions, your strengths and your weaknesses. It is a risk because you are imperfect as a human being with a lot of weak spots and shortcomings. However, high performance risk crosses the borders of comfort and pushes one into the zone of discomfort, propelling you to master the things you are not so good at and driving you to take a step towards overcoming your fears and challenges. Being self-aware is more of a toolset than simply a notion. When understood and used in full measure, you will be able to control your emotions and actions and make more thought provoking decisions which will essentially drive you in the direction of high performance risk.
The bridge between caution and high-performance risk is confidence. Self- confidence is the trust or belief in yourself. How can you be self-confident when you lack the toolsets to feel competent? One thing that is apparent in the work and business space is that people who have not just the charisma but the know-how for the job always come out on top. The walls may be placed on top of us by leadership and hierarchy and those that surround us because our inner fear restricts us in several ways. How does one begin to create loop holes in these walls and eventually break them down to make room for greatness?
In several work spaces, one can find employees and employers with the technical know-how on anything and everything. These individuals still suffer the syndrome of being cautious because they are deficient in soft skills. For a person to be the complete package in the field of work, soft skills must be as much a priority as knowing how to do the job. With soft skills such as confidence and people skills, the foundation to dare to take positive risks has been laid. Before you can move up from where you are, you must not only prove that you can do the job, you must also prove that you have the charisma to let others believe that you can. Being a good fit in terms of emotional and social skills is a requirement; a job many of us fail at. Why should you be given a position of leadership if you know how to do just your part and are unable to lead a team; to push them to take risks to achieve higher goals when you have never done the same for yourself? Why should you hold a position that requires you to be both knowledgeable in the theory of your job and also have good communication skills that will help you effectively communicate your ideas to a board of high ranking industry players? If you can bridge the gap between caution and risk, crack the walls and let your light shine through, your transformational journey in high performance risk would be a story worth telling.
Here are a few tips to start you off on the journey of high performance risk:
SEEK THE CHALLENGE:
One of the key steps to take on the journey of high performance risk is to position yourself in challenging situations. Whatever walls that have been created by external forces in your business space or internally by your thoughts and fears will only break down if you stand up, and face your fears. You can and should deliberately put yourself in positions that make you uncomfortable and mentally prepare yourself to do what it takes to be a master of that challenge. For instance, if you have difficulty working in teams, you should volunteer to be a part of a project that requires team work. Find creative ways and means of getting along with your team mates, develop listening skills and ways of communicating your thoughts without offending another party. It would not be a cake walk, but once you start and stay consistent while persevering for progress, you will become a great team member.
STRIVE FOR RECOMMENDATION:
Another key step to take in this journey is to make yourself relevant enough to be recommended by a client. What are the things that will set you apart in your space of operation and work? What soft skills can you acquire to be of value to yourself, your manager and the entire business? What qualifications do you need to have to make you the go-to person when emergent needs arise? Look at being an effective team player and a leader who leads to solve. Be clear and precise in your communication and speak to influence. Whoever you are and whatever you do should speak for itself in the traits you carry and in the work you deliver. Be satisfied with yourself by always striving to go the extra mile. That is one of the ways you can be noticed and pushed to swim new unchartered waters that will propel you into deeper depths of high performance risk.
Many people in business and work usually tend to be consumed by what they do such that they miss the opportunities around them. Do not get comfortable in the routine you have developed. Being well planned and organized is a plus when it comes to the world of corporate. However, spontaneity is a powerful force and an exciting mindset that can help you take risks. Be conscious and aware of your environment. Pay attention to the needs of others and help them find solutions. Read wide and be willing to join conversations that are outside the scope of your interests. The more you learn, the more aware you will become of the dynamic variety of businesses that require your competence and that can challenge you.
SURROUND YOURSELF SUPPORT ROCKS:
For any journey you are on, it is essential to have someone who has achieved whatever goal you want to achieve to mentor you and guide you. When you have someone who cares about you pushing you to do the things you have to do, you have a better chance of getting them done. Surround yourself with people who strive for progress and who press to be a better version of themselves in everything they do. This way, you will be reminded daily of purpose and stay awake to do what needs to be done.
If you do not back down from taking calculated risks and act in spite of your shortcomings you will soar to your greatest potential.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
Dzigbordi has been featured on CNN for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017.
She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.