Leadership and Risk

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”

Les Miserables


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 believed they stood for and with the people in demanding their freedom. They believed the people would follow them to fight for their freedom.

When French troops arrive to quell the rebellion, the students stood in defiance and quickly learned that the people had no interest in their battle when they close their windows and turned their backs on them.

One by one, they were 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

Leadership Betrayals


Jeff AltmanPeople hire Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter to provide No BS Career Advice globally because he makes many things in peoples’ career easier. Those things can involve job search, hiring more effectively, managing and leading better, career transition, as well as advice about resolving workplace issues. 

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He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2500 episodes.


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