It is very risky to choose not to take risks.

Thought 1.

You can’t look at averages when everyone isn’t moving. When some people are doing amazing things and others have done nothing new, measuring the average tells us absolutely nothing. Everyone needs to be moving in the right direction, and when someone is standing still, it doesn’t matter where the average is, the fact is we are not doing as well as we think.

Thought 2.

A rising tide floats all boats. But tides ebb and flow, and if you wait around and don’t make your own waves, you end up in the peaks only as much as you end up in the valleys, because tides don’t rise unless they also fall.

Thought 3.

Organizations that don’t push boundaries and encourage innovation, invite mediocrity. Good enough becomes good enough (even when greatness is within reach) if the focus is on risk reduction and not managing risk.

Thought 4.

Failing is part of learning. Fearing failure is an invitation to settle, and to compromise, even when opportunities present themselves. If you always expect success, your definition of success becomes a limit, because you can’t achieve exponential change when you are looking for safe, guaranteed, incremental successes.

It is very risky to choose not to take risks.


Also published on Medium.

3 comments on “Risky Business

  1. Dave, thank you for your thoughts – all 4 of them! My thought is on your depiction of thought #4. Yes, I noticed you used RED for failure but my question is why downward? If failure is necessary for success why wouldn’t the graphic representation of accepting failure show a repetitive oscillating line projecting up with risk and dropping with reward? In fact, this reminds me of something an investor friend of mine mentioned to me long ago – Investments are a series of failures and successes while always moving upwards, like a yoyo on an escalator!

    1. Hey Dave,
      The red line represents, “Fearing failure is an invitation to settle, and to compromise, even when opportunities present themselves. If you always expect success, your definition of success becomes a limit…” And the green line represents the potential for exponentially better rewards for risking (and therefore more likely failing).

      Still your idea of “a repetitive oscillating line projecting up with risk and dropping with reward” intrigues me. What exactly would that look like?

  2. Hi Dave – Really enjoyed this post, in particular the caution about averages and risk. I thought you might enjoy reading this report re: Canada needs more courage (the future belongs to the bold). Although it is a consulting report focussed on Canadian business I think you will find it highly relevant for the education sector as well.
    https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ca/Documents/insights-and-issues/ca_Deloitte_Courage_report2016_online_v31_AODA.pdf

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