If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will gain. -Neil Gaiman

We love our set routines and the relative safety that our jobs provide. I know I do. The best leaders don’t settle for status quo and are great risk takers for their organizations. It’s not done haphazardly without intent. It’s planned, weighed and executed. Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Here are some areas to consider when taking risks.

Be strategic

It’s important to be well informed before you make a decision. Think through all the avenues possible on what the outcome would be. You don’t have to be totally sure about an outcome. Do you know how much certainty we needed to know about something in the military before making a decision? 60%. You would think it would be a lot higher but sometimes you just can’t get 100% confidence that what you want to do will work. (And that would likely make it not a risk) Realistically evaluate how much risk is involved and what the potential consequences could be.

It’s also important to partner with others during the process. If it’s a big choice, involve your upline leader. If it’s smaller choice, involve your leadership team and perhaps an outside perspective.

Don’t be afraid to fail.

Starting out, I had a love/hate relationship with taking risk. I loved the idea of thinking up new ideas and strategies, but I absolutely hated failure. Hated it! The result was that I would come up with a lot of new ideas and then not really do anything about them. Don’t make my mistake: Accept failure as a part of the process in taking a risk. Once you do, you are truly freed to try new things. I eventually got over failing and then became at pro at it!

Here are some things I tired and failed at translating to chain-wide success

  • A new years at noon event for kids.
  • Recycling giftcards and reselling them as guitar picks
  • Building custom VBS displays to sell to churches.
  • Community events (the first time)
  • A way to identify work anniversary milestones in our dress code
  • Multiple visual ideas
  • Utilizing social groups as a marketing avenue

Those are just the ones that come immediately to mind that are work related. I’m sure if I really thought about it I could easily list 15-20 more. I heard a great statement from a Disney Imagineer once on ideas and failures. “A good idea never dies.” He gave examples of how some ideas took 30 years to come to life. Could some of those failed ideas above come back at some point? Maybe so. The great thing is the knowledge of how many great things have come out of taking some risks.

There are some risks that are out there that could harm our company. If you take the right partner, follow your integrity, our policies and our mission, then there should be very little that you would do that could not be fixed later.

So go ahead and step out there. Your risk may be the next big idea.

Make a better tomorrow.