Positive Risk-Taking

What is positive risk-taking?

IRIZ professionally manages positive risk taking on self-developed ecosystems or on behalf of customers. Positive risk-taking describes something specific that IRIZ do as part of challenging status quo. It is something that everyone engages in to different levels and frequencies in their daily lives, so it should also be appropriate for all companies to in their governance considered and within reasoned risk decision-making. It does what it says on the tin: it is taking risks for positive outcomes. The activity is taking risks, and the ‘positive’ attachment is about the clearly defined outcomes that CHANGE AGENTS wish to achieve by taking the aforementioned risks.

Positive risk-taking is: weighing up the potential benefits and harms of exercising one choice of action over another. Identifying the potential risks involved (i.e. good risk assessment), and developing plans and actions (i.e. good risk management) that reflect the positive potentials and stated priorities and opportunities (i.e. a strengths approach). It involves using ‘available’ resources and support to achieve the desired outcomes, and to minimize the potential harmful outcomes.

Characteristics of Positive Risk-Taking

  • Real empowering of people through collaborative working from the outset of discussions about risk and risk-taking
  • A clear understanding of responsibilities
  • Making decisions based on a range of choices available, and supported by adequate and accurate information
  • Supporting people to access opportunities for personal change and growth
  • Establishing trusting working relationships based on taking chances just like anyone else
  • Working positively and constructively with risk in order to identify the positive resources that underpin the confidence to take the risk
  • Focusing on the ‘here and now’, but with clear knowledge of what has worked or not worked in the past, and why. The influence of historical information lies in the deeper context of what happened rather than the simple stigma of the events themselves
  • It is an on-going risk decision-making process, not a one-off decision
  • A clear focus on the specific outcome to be achieved, so it involves a process of attempting

Figuring out what is a positive risk (which can take a number of forms) can be hard because our brains are so conditioned to think of risks as bad. A simple way to identify positive risk is the same way you would identify negative risk: by working with your team to come up with a list of opportunities that could impact the project, product or your company to meet disruption.

These are your risk response strategies, and they are a bit different to the types of response you would use to deal with negative risk.

  1. First, exploit the risk. Exploiting a risk means do everything you can to increase the chance of it happening. For example, if you want to get more hits on your new website, devote lots of time drumming up positive publicity by contacting journalists, writing press releases and getting your in-house communications team involved.
  2. Share the risk with someone else, as sometimes you can’t get the full benefit of an opportunity working alone.
  3. Do nothing. This is always an option for negative risk too. Knowing possible scenarios – good and bad – is sometimes planning enough. You can choose whether response is merited if the eventuality occurs.

IRIZ customers normally do utilize number 2 – they call us for a first work shop.

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