The value of Risk Taking-More on Learning Agility

Taking risks is not only valuable, it is essential if you want to become a more Agile Learner.  In previous posts we have talked about other traits of Learning Agility including Innovation, Performance and Reflection.  Today I’ll spend time discussing why risk taking is so important.

I have read many times that those who do not fail are really not trying hard enough.  Let’s unpack what this means versus how it could be interpreted.  Failure is valuable, but only when done in the proper context.  Risk taking is essential and risks we take should be balanced against the value that might be gained or lost should the risk not pan out.  Let me give an example.

If I wanted to try out a new technique in making a presentation, this type of risk might make sense in front of a smaller crowd or a group that knows me well.  By controlling the fallout of the risk, I know that I can still learn even if the risk does not pan out.  An example of a risk taken too far might be to take half of my retirement income and put it into a very risky investment that has a high payout potential, but that also has a high risk factor.  While the opportunity might look good if it pans out, the price of failure could be devastating.  Risks are necessary, but they should also be mitigated based on the value gained and the circumstances.

Each of us needs to find opportunities to take risks in our work and our personal life.  So often we get locked into doing things the same way, time after time, and the opportunity for a breakthrough are minimal when we don’t make changes or try new methods.

Think of measured ways you can incorporate risk taking into what you do.  With a little planning and preparation you too will find the value of stretching outside of your own comfort zone.