Home Forums Creative Ambitions discussions Ask the team Live Q&A on Friday 11th Feb Reply To: Live Q&A on Friday 11th Feb

  • Sandy Thomson

    11/02/2022 at 12:43 pm

    So someone asked me about bravery and how it relates to risk. They have a situation that others are telling them they’d be daft to say ‘no’ to but they’re using the risk assessment and it feels like it’s an unacceptable risk to them.

    Here’s a thought for that – no one willingly takes an Unacceptable Risk, so if people are telling you it’s Acceptable they mean it’s Acceptable TO THEM. And they are not you and their risks are not underwritten in the same way as yours and their previous history with risk is not the same as yours. So there’s one of two things going on in this situ:

    Either your spectrum of risk taking is in the red with this risk.

    Your spectrum of risk taking is developed through your previous experiences and relates to your perceptions of risk. It’s based what you’ve been consistently told is dangerous, or what your experiences have taught you is dangerous – and what’s not.

    Or you’re unable to underwrite the risk. By which I mean you have assessed the risk and are clear that the the likely impact of the consequences of the risk (if it all goes wrong) will be unacceptable or unmanageable given your current resources and position.

    Or both those things might be combined.

    So for example if you have a track record with a couple of really bad previous experiences with a certain type of trainees, say – that’s going to play into your perception of that type of trainee. “Type” means any commonality you see them having – educational background, previous experience, type of personality that loves that job, declared approach or discipline, etc.). Couple that experience and the resulting perceptions with the available resources and opportunities you have to help with underwriting the risk. Those two things may be only a little risky together but a lot more risky when combined. Say you only have the funds to pilot the project once and when it’s gone it’s gone rather than having enough money to fund multiple pilots. So a person in that situation is going to judge the risk as way higher than someone who has had a great set of trainees and who has more than enough funds to run the pilot speculatively more than once.

    So – whilst getting advice is a great idea – if someone is telling you a risk is smaller than you think it is then it’s always worth working out if you think the risk is more significant because of your perception or your resources or both. And then decide what you want to do based on what you find out when looking into those.

    Finally – yes, your perception is a perception. It’s not necessarily fact. We have a tendency however, of treating our perceptions are facts and that’s why it’s so vitally important to examine where a perception is coming from – so we can keep the narratives that drive us flexible and developing, so we don’t get stuck in rigid thinking and so that we’re not making assumptions and thereby engaging in lazy or biased thinking.