Do You Take Risks?

Unreasonable Risk-Taking

 

Unreasonable risk-takers are individuals who tend to over-emphasize the resources they have available or can acquire to accomplish their objectives. Or, they’re people who under-emphasize the barriers that are likely to get in their way.

There’s been a lot of emphasis in the past decade or so on risk-taking as a positive trait of high achieving individuals. Most corporate environments don’t encourage risk-taking. Neither do government bureaucracies. So “unreasonable risk-taking” might not seem like much of a problem, except that we’re talking about increasing power and influence with others. That demands that you take risks, provide leadership, and create visions for others. So risk-taking comes with the territory of adaptability.

This is just a note of caution to take reasonable risks. Psychologist David McClelland and others who have researched high achievers say the most successful individuals take moderate risks which have a 30 percent to 70 percent chance of being accomplished. Taking a risk on something that has less than a 30 percent chance of success is considered reckless behavior rather than reasonable risk taking. This is especially true if you’re risking the resources of other people in the process.

Accomplishing something, which has over 70 percent chance of success, is essentially not taking a risk in the first place. Assessing risk involves both looking at what positive factors are in the plan, as well as the negative factors that stand to get in the way. There’s usually no way to do an ironclad assessment of a plan. Oftentimes the factor that weights the balance in one direction or the other is the person taking the risk. How much follow-through do you have? How much energy are you going to bring to the enterprise? If the going gets tough, can you count on yourself to keep going?

A great majority of businesses begun by individuals in this country fail within the first 5 years. Starting a new business is always a risk, but a good business plan upfront will help assess the chances for success. According to Michael Gerber, who runs a nationwide training company for fledgling entrepreneurs, the number one reason for the failure of startup businesses is under-estimation of the resources it takes to keep a business going. Under-estimate of the capital required, under-estimate of the time it takes, and under-estimate of the expertise it takes to run your own business. Yet every year, hundreds of thousands of people hang out their sign, print their business cards and wait for their first customer or client.

And the good news is that tens of thousands of those businesses do succeed. Because they’ve taken a reasonable risk.

 

Is The Golden Rule Outdated?

Absolutely not! The Golden Rule has as much “glitter” as ever. I believe and practice it 110%, especially when it comes to values, ethics, honesty and consideration. However, when it comes to interpersonal communication, it can very well backfire. The Golden Rule states: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Basically translated, that says to treat others the way you would like to be treated, which of course isn’t always the case.
An addition to the Golden Rule is The Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” The focus of relationships shifts from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.”
The goal of The Platinum Rule is personal chemistry and productive relationships. You don’t have to change your personality. You simply have to understand what drives people and recognize your options for dealing with them. The Platinum Rule divides behavioral preferences into four personality styles: Director, Socializer, Relater, and Thinker. Everyone possesses the qualities of each style to various degrees and everyone has a dominant style. The key to using The Platinum Rule is understanding what a person’s dominant personality style is and treating him/her appropriately:

Directors are driven by two governing needs: to control and achieve. They are goal-oriented go-getters who are most comfortable when they are in charge of people and situations.

Socializers are friendly and enthusiastic and like to be where the action is. They thrive on admiration, acknowledgment, and compliments. They are idea-people who excel at getting others excited about their vision.

Thinkers are analytical, persistent, systematic people who enjoy problem solving. They are detail-oriented, which makes them more concerned with content than style. Thinkers are task-oriented people who enjoy perfecting processes and working toward tangible results.

Relaters are warm and nurturing individuals. They are the most people-oriented of the four styles. Relaters are excellent listeners, devoted friends, and loyal employees. They are good planners, persistent workers, and good with follow-through.

The Platinum Rule provides powerful life-skills that will serve you well in all your relationships: business, friends, family, spouse, and children.