When taking a Risk is safer than Sticking

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HBR Management Tip of the week

Most of us consider ourselves to be risk averse, but what we consider “safe” behaviour often contains much more uncertainty than we suspect. That’s because safety generally involves consistency of a condition — whether that’s job security, a stable marriage, or the value of a currency.

The challenge is that there are very few environments that remain static. “Safe” investments like gold can lose value. You could be fired from your “safe” job. And yet we behave as if the current state will persist in perpetuity.

While no one can predict the future, there are a few tactics you can use to get better at evaluating risk. Before you make a decision, do your research on all of the potential avenues of action. Ask credible experts to weigh in. And don’t forget to evaluate the inherent risk of doing nothing. Sometimes the status quo is actually riskier than taking a leap into the unknown.

Adapted from “Why That Risky Career Move Could Be a Safer Bet than You Think,” by Karen Firestone

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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