How to Take Risks When Your Company Is Set In Its Ways
You just read an article about forward-thinking companies who are doing away with cubicles and fostering an open environment conducive to creativity. But when you went to your boss, suggesting the idea (or some other innovative organizational solution), he pretty much laughed you out of his office. Why? Because he, and others in management at your office share a similar mentality—if something’s worked in the past, it will work in the future.
These kinds of leaders are not eager to invest time in experimental ideas or risky ventures; they’re interested in staying the course, and sticking to a safe, well-traveled route. So how do you break through these barriers, infuse your organization with fresh life and energy, and get your company out of its comfort zone and onto the fast track to modernization?
1. Start With Baby Steps
People who don’t like to take risks definitely don’t favor huge, sudden adjustments to routine. Easing into change is an opportunity to show your bosses that even small risks can pay off —and can open the door to more significant risk-taking behaviors in the future. Have you always thought about launching an employee referral program in your department? This kind of initiative is likely to improve the quality of new hires, reduce turnover, and doesn’t have a lot of unpredictability attached to it—but it’s enterprising enough to show your superiors trying new ideas can be beneficial.
2. Inform And Persuade With Evidence
Chances are, your company leaders aren’t just going to take you at your word when it comes to buying in on a change they consider chancy or unnecessary. Not even executives known to be risk-takers are willing to dive in without doing their homework. If your bosses aren’t interested in doing the research, you’ll need to do it for them. Are you passionate about the environment, and you’d like your company to go green? Show your supervisor statistical proof that environmentally friendly practices save companies money in the long run. Find trusted and established sources, compile your findings, and present the evidence in a way that shows your suggestion is practical and workable.
3. Lead By Example
Someone has to step up and show your company that taking risks is positive—and necessary—in the modern business world. You may have to put yourself and your ideas on the line, but if you’re sincere about wanting your organization to move out of its stagnant state and into a position as a front-runner in your industry, you’ll need to take risks. If you’re unwilling to be brave and take chances, how can you expect to change the mindsets of your colleagues and superiors?
Working for a company that’s stuck in the past can be both frustrating and frightening—businesses who refuse to grow or change—or change in the wrong ways—are incredibly insecure. The truth is, stagnation and complacency is actually the riskiest choice of all. If you want your organization to move out of a static and precarious position, make every effort to show your leaders the ways innovation creates stability and drives success.