Leadership and Risk | Career Angles
By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
“Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes”
“Do You Hear The People Sing”
When I saw the play on Broadway and, later, the movie depiction of the play, this was among many songs that stood out. There was a power and passion and excitement to the students singing of revolution and leading the French people to their freedom.
They believe they stand for and with the people in demanding their freedom. They believe the people will follow them to fight for their freedom.
When French troops arrive to quell the rebellion, the students stand in defiance and quickly learn that the people have no interest in their battle when they close their windows and turn their backs on them.
One by one, they are killed by a superior force.
Yes, the leaders had followers but they didn’t look at risk mitigation. They didn’t attempt to manage the risk other than put up barricades that were quickly obliterated.
They spoke to one another and did nothing to speak outside of their limited circle to find out whether they had followers outside of their small cadre of revolutionary students.
Only when they went to battle did they discover that they were alone.
I don’t want to compare a fight for freedom with leadership in business except to point out that it’s important to manage your risk when you lead an organization and lead your people.
You can’t bet every dollar you have on an outcome. History should prove to you that for every victory there are thousands of defeats of people who did that and went bankrupt.
For every victory, there are thousands of employees who went unpaid and were financially damaged by the experience . . . And worse.
Betting the farm may seem glamorous but in most cases is stupid.
How can you reduce your risk?
How can you test your hypothesis?
Everything new involves education. How can you inform the potential customer inexpensively and create demand?
How can you enroll your staff in this crusade and not lead them to their death?
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
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