The Rewards Of Risk Taking At Work

At school, home, and office, you have used a post-it note. But did you know that post-it note was invented when a 3M scientist took a risk trying to make a super strong adhesive?

Employees are expected to obey lawful, reasonable orders within the contract of employment, cooperate with employers, perform duties with proper care, diligence and account for monies or properties received. There’s however a key role which is usually unwritten in employees terms of reference, this usually determines the career growth for the employee within the organisation, i.e. make more money for the company!!!

With the advent of decentralized company governance, employees now bear the added responsibility of risk taking and experimentation for more reward which may come as bonuses and promotions. To this end, experimentation in the workplace has now become a necessity for career growth and remaining in paid employment.

Fortune 500 companies and products such as Google, 3M, Coca-Cola and cornflakes started with a very different goal and target market in mind. They are big today because some employees experimented with their assigned tasks. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear”. What’s more important here is growth. Thus an employee must now take ‘SMART’ risks through experimentation. Experiments or Risks that are SMARTSimple, Manageable, Astute, Retractable and Teaches something, are usually encouraged by most employers. Although unwritten, they show employers you have the interest of the company at heart.

In simple experiments your action is self-contained, the risk associated with this is simple and the experiment is a simple one too. Your actions as an employee doesn’t affect other parts of the company or business.

Manageable experiment is small such that even if it fails, it doesn’t threaten the business. It has minimal downside and continues to grow knowledge and capability for all employees as they all become more experienced.

Astute risk is one which has a potential upside irrespective of what the actual results of the experiment are. These kinds of risk come with experience and you need to learn how to discern risks which are astute.

Retractable experiments are by nature simple, contained and designed in such a way that they are retractable. These kinds of experiments serve as good starting point for you to get your feet wet when new to risk taking in the office.

The goal of every experiment is for us to learn something valuable – irrespective of the results. It’s important that the lessons learned are shared with other employees and the management team so they all learn from it.

Remember, if the experiment fails, everyone learns from it. Making mistakes shows willingness to push boundaries which is key when managers are looking for upcoming champions to appoint into leadership roles. So, don’t be afraid of taking risks and experiments in your work place. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jer 29:11.

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