Management Talk: Whet your risk appetite

I have seen many people state in their profiles that they 'love taking risks'. It is sometimes seen as a good trait, sometimes as a sign of confidence and many other times, as a sign of significant accomplishment, if success has come out of taking a risk, and rightfully so. It not only earns a feather to one's cap but the appetite to take more risks just goes several notches higher. It is also said that as you rise up the corporate ladder, the risks are higher, and I would agree.

08 Feb 2016 | By Suresh Ramakrishnan

So, how do you ‘whet your risk appetite?’
First, you must understand that taking a risk is never an individual valour. It is always about the ecosystem and environment. Let me explain.
I have never taken a risk at my level just because I got this one brilliant idea and I just wanted to take the plunge. I always knew I have a team to support me, who believe in me and trust me to make good decisions. I knew that I had the right set of people with the right abilities to handhold each aspect of the idea to make it a success. It is the confidence that the probability of success is high that helps me make the first move.
The probability of success is not a positive bubble in the mind. It is a method and machinery that has been horned over a period of time that you believe will extend itself towards accomplishment when you take the plunge. Yes, it is a belief that grows over time through experience, mentoring and constant learning.
Learning through education, learning through observation, learning by being inquisitive and learning through your leader/mentor – it should never stop. Your armoury is the wealth of knowledge that you acquire that builds the ability to evaluate pros and cons better than many others that help you lead an idea towards success.
How often do you share knowledge to bring others up to speed and keep yourself open to questions and debates on the best way forward? If you carry your team with you, the confidence to take risks just multiplies several times.
You don’t generally tend to be risk averse because it is a feeling within. It may have to do with a critical missing element and most probably one or two, or all of the points stated above.
Again, the points are not necessarily exhaustive and finite but broadly cover the elements that tend to be critical in taking risks.
So, go ahead and whet your risk appetite today.
Suresh Ramakrishnan is the publisher at Haymarket Media (India).