Risk Taking

Learn from Experiences

Facing a situation which has impeded your decision-making? Having trouble determining the right answer because you really do not know what to do? Use this video and article to help you conduct a risk assessment and plan any mitigation strategies. Thinking through, reflecting, and documenting this process will help you feel more confident in your ultimate decision and could be useful in sharing your decision with others.

Be confident, step up, and volunteer. The next time your manager needs help with an important project or task, even if the type of work is unfamiliar to you, give it a try. This new challenge will be a risk in and of itself, but the benefit will be the opportunity to learn, grow, and build new skills.

Use conflict as an opportunity to take a risk. Healthy conflict is natural in human interaction and development; it can open up new avenues of learning and growth. When you experience conflict is experienced between yourself and a colleague, or as part of a project team, use this tool to encourage direct debate – even though it may be uncomfortable at first. Facing a challenging situation like this will surface important information and ultimately help the relationship or project to succeed.

Think about a task, skill, or learning opportunity you have always wanted to pursue in your current role. Want to solve a problem? Improve a work process? Take a course? Meet with a GW role model who could coach you to find the right path? Now is the time to develop a plan to act on it. Gather information, prepare, plan, and have a peer review and give input before acting. Follow the plan, take the risk, make it happen, and enjoy the journey.


Learn from Others

Read this article about Steve Jobs and his risk-taking abilities. Consider how to learn from, among other things, the practices common among innovators: questioning, experimenting, observing, associating and networking.

Next time you are considering taking a risk at work, talk to your manager. Guide them through your thoughts and ask for feedback. Incorporate their advice into your next steps.

Find a risk role model – professionally or personally. Look for someone you admire for their ability to explore the unknown, embrace the uncertain, and dive right into a risk opportunity. Set up a series of three brief conversations with them and inquire about their approach to risks and decision-making. Try to emulate some of the tips or approaches they describe.