The funny thing about life and business is that when faced with an opportunity, most of us are quick to see the upside, yet few can articulate and evaluate risk. We all want the stars and the moon to align, bringing joy and happiness to all. A novel thought, yet a little unrealistic. Savvy leaders learn to evaluate a decision for not only what happens if it works, but more importantly, if it doesn’t. Because, let’s be honest, decision-making is a little like taking a trip on the high seas- you never really know what to expect, and you need to be prepared.
Evaluating Risk Keeps You Informed
Before setting out across the ocean, great sailors evaluate risk by gathering all the relevant data they need to ensure a safe journey. They look at weather conditions, safety gear, and other essentials to stay informed. Great leaders have the same ability to look at the risk associated with a particular strategy and the series of decisions that follow. Answering a few “what-if” questions helps ensure good choices and mitigates risk. If I make a positive decision here, how much do I have to invest in people, time and resources? What effect will it have on our brand and future direction? If we miscalculate, how nimble can we be to make an in-course shift to get back on track?
Planning Gives You the Confidence To Change Course as Needed
On a sailboat, you never really know what the wind will do. You can be informed, but you really only make a plan to carry out your journey. As the weather and circumstances change, you have to adjust your sails, your rudder and your course appropriately. Good decision-making is the same. The better you plan by thinking about and analyzing up front those things that will affect the decision, the more confident you will be when you have to pull the trigger on investments or make other major decisions.
For leaders, many of the choices we make open doors for tremendous opportunities and success. However, not every decision is without risk and there are grave dangers that can come from the wrong choice. While there is no guarantee that every decision you make will go well, careful assessment, thoughtful analysis and strategic planning will ensure the best results possible every time.