Dichotomies of Risk Taking
I recently met with the CEO of a company that is looking to grow aggressively. The CEO was narrating a few challenges that confront his Organisation and “lack of risk taking” in the culture of the organization was one key challenge. He felt the lack of risk taking by senior people in the Organization was leading to moderate growth while the market presented great potential.
As the conversation progressed, his curiosity suddenly shifted to me. He wanted to learn more about my journey as an entrepreneur over the last 3 years and what motivated me to take the plunge? I was a bit uncomfortable as I felt we were digressing from the core issue, which was how could I & my team help him (the CEO) with his Org transformation goals. What was my personal journey to do with this?
As I shared some details on my journey, he got very excited. He started to share his own desire to be an entrepreneur for last many years but not having the courage to take the plunge. He quoted many reasons, such as how he came from a middle-class background, importance of financial security & that his kids were still at college etc. etc.
As I was listening to him, my mind was on the balcony watching our very interesting conversation. The dichotomy was intriguing — here is a man who is looking to reinvent his Org culture to be more comfortable with taking risks in order to drive aggressive growth. At the same time here is the same man talking about how much he wished he was an entrepreneur but is unable to take the step due to various “insecurities” that currently confront him.
I was feeling deeply empathetic towards the CEO as I could relate to his predicament viz. his personal aspirations and also could connect with the contradictory view when he wore his professional hat. Interestingly we all seem to have 2 brains operating concurrently and we tend to listen to both. They appear to be in conflict but they may not always be.
As I was reflecting I thought I’d write to some of you to share and test if you also faced such dichotomies in the course of your journey.