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Risky Business: Strategies to Encourage Employee Risk-Taking

Failure is an excellent learning opportunity and is, on some scale, encouraged. But, before any failing can occur, a person first needs to take a risk. In an article for Business 2 Community, Julie Winkle Giulioni elaborates on effective ways to encourage employee risk-taking.

Taking Good Risks

A risk is an event that causes a close proximity to danger. In this business world, there are a whole host of dangers to mindful of: if it is a buyer’s market, the threat of outsourcing, unemployment, and much, much more. Employees are scared, and thus hesitant to take risks. With innovation however, the time to be slightly risky is now, and leaders should encourage this.

Jim Donald took a very daring approach to risk-taking:

When he took over Extended Stay America, the hotel chain was emerging from bankruptcy and employees were immobilized by concern over losing their jobs. His response was to give “everyone a safety net: He created a batch of miniature ‘Get Out of Jail, Free’ cards, and is gradually handing them out to his 9,000 employees. All they had to do, he told them, was call in the card when they took a big risk on behalf of the company — no questions asked.

This sent the message to the employees that risk was okay and the organization would help alleviate the individual responsibility. So how can more companies take Donald’s lead and encourage intelligent risks? They can begin by getting back to the basics:

  1. Modeling
  2. Enabling
  3. Support
  4. Consistency

Leading by example is the most effective way to implement change. Managers can illustrate to their employees how to take risks. In order to take intelligent risks, employees need to have the proper tools and capabilities to understand the big picture. Employees will also need the support of their managers and an environment conducive of learning. The leader’s response to risk must remain consistent. Having constant reactions will encourage employees to take on more risks.

You can read the original article here:

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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