February 2018
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There Are Still Risks Worth Taking

A year ago, the focus of most firms was growth. Risk was something you took to achieve that growth. Now, just as many firms see risk as something to be avoided at all costs. Much of the current looking backwards is focused on the decisions made that caused the current problems.

It may be worth taking a second look at the strategies of last year, however, because there are great risks associated with inaction. Standing still can be just as dangerous as taking a wrong step. The plans of yesterday may only need some adjustments to apply today. Perhaps they need to be financed or sequenced differently. Perhaps they can offer something the market needs and wants in a downturn as well.

Adrian Slywotzky wrote about risks worth taking in 2004 for the Harvard Business Update and many of the risks he advocates taking are just as applicable today. Change is a constant, and markets are constantly shifting. It does not eliminate the risk that your customers may switch to other products. Your product may still be overtaken by new ones. It does not mean you will not make mistakes. Bad times do not mean new competitors cannot appear.

Risks must be managed, not ignored, for as Slywotzky writes,

Traditional risk management seeks to contain losses. But that’s just half of the growth equation. By embracing strategic risk, … risk-savvy companies have raised their growth potential while reducing their economic volatility.”

Slywotzky provides a number of strategies to grow “smart”, even when times are not good.

The full article can be read at:


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