What is Risk?

Taking a risk, calculated or otherwise, means that you try something that could possibly be fail. This potential failure, however, must have the potential to cost you something. If it doesn’t succeed then it will hurt.

If there isn’t the potential of a cost in terms of money, reputation, time or something else that is tangible to you and your business then you’re not taking a risk. You’re simply trying something a bit different.

Some risks are potentially worth more if they succeed and the opposite side of the coin to this is that there is a bigger loss if they fail.

It is much easier to try something new, now and then, rather than a take a risk but the success will be limited. If you want to see a success that can change the future for you then you have to be prepared to fail and to lose.

Sometime you have to step off the path and right your way through the thorns.

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One percent change

Last night I was honoured to be a discussant at the Transformation for Growth Event held by Aston Business School.

With two fantastic speakers, Prof. Adrian Furnham from University College, London, and Jamil Qureshi, a practitioner of performance enhancing psychology, the event was designed to apply positive psychology to SME’s.

Change in the workplace hurts, but giving people the self belief that they can change – and a reason why this will benefit the, and the organisation – can be done. Obviously different approaches work in different environments, and with different individuals but that fact is we have to practise continuous change and improvement to achieve growth and success.

We all, employer and employees, work based on our head and our heart. Change is not just cerebral but emotive, and will have positive and negative emotional impact.

One of the ways to harness the positive impact is to focus on the strengths of individuals rather than their weaknesses. By doing this the individual will feel more empowered and more likely to consider and work with you on change, rather than passively resisting.

For the leader, the one with the visions, we must be motivated by moving toward greatness rather than focusing on moving away from failure. This way our positivity towards this enhanced success will optimise talent, growth and an excited attitude towards the future.

We can’t just tell individuals that there is change and expect them to embrace it, we need to influence the way we get them to think about their role within the organisation and be excited about the vision we have of the future.

By changing just one percent of how we work we won’t have a dramatic immediate impact, but down the line this will exponentially widen and enhance a basis of confidence and ambition.

Change for changes sake is dangerous and should be avoided, but change to reflect our attitude for ambition and growth can give us rewards that we won’t achieve if we are simply running from the possibility of failure.

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Achieving Goals doesn’t make problems go away

On Friday I ticked something off my Bucket List, which was to win a National Business Award.

Tick.

However since I’d spent most of the day texting various Managers and Engineers at work regarding a machine breakdown I have to admit that whilst I am very pleased to have won, the real life (and at that moment more immediate problems) took the shine off it somewhat.

That’s life.

Achieving a goal, winning an accolade do not magically fix everything.

Problems still exist, in both personal and professional areas and these often come with personal sacrifice to achieve the greater good. Achieving the greater good is where we have to put our personal achievements to one side to focus on what is best to continue moving forward.

Frustrations, problems, all continue and if an issue affects others then quite frankly they don’t care about you achieving one of your goals – and why should they?

Take the moment. Enjoy it. Deal with whatever comes next and remind yourself that each time you solve a problem you are doing exactly what you are there to do – and that’s why someone decided that your dedication deserved acknowledgment.

Thank you to the Venus Awards for acknowledging the business women out there who put the greater good ahead of everything else.

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Control

Over the Christmas period, when I was eating six course meals matched with some fabulous wines, I started to wonder about Control and how I approached it. Hubby and I are foodies and are lucky enough to live in a fantastic city that has some amazing restaurants and we took advantage of this at Christmas and indulged ourselves. We enjoyed every delicious mouthful!

January arrives and of course I (and everyone else) immediately start thinking about weight loss and healthy goals for the New Year. Control is an important aspect of this; we can’t achieve anything without willpower and control over our appetites and habits. But if we deny ourselves in the short term then we can damage our goals in the long term.

The same can be applied to business. Do we look at just the short term goals or the long term strategy? The obvious answer is ‘both’ but time is limited and when issues occur sometimes you need to choose between the two.

A good way of staying in control on both short term and long term goals is to measure them at set intervals. Weekly for short term, and monthly for long term. Use your long term strategy to check that your short term goals are taking you in the right direction as it’s easy to get side tracked and by obsessing on the short term you can often change direction without being aware.

As for short term and long term healthy goals I’m looking forward to working hard on these without denying myself the nice things in life. Everything in moderation.

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I am Dragon… and very impressed

Last Thursday I was privileged to be a ‘Dragon’ for Birmingham City Council for one of their Dragon’s Den sessions.

As part of the European Regional Development Fund potential entrepreneurs are given twelve hours one to one training with a Business Coach and then they face the Dragon’s for a grant of £250 towards their new business as part of the Enterprise Catalyst Business Support Initiative.

We heard from six candidates who were completely diverse in their backgrounds, experience, age and ambitions. They all had one thing in common; they had a vision for their business.

One of the young ladies who presented and was successful in her grant application really impressed me. Her start-up has started, and whilst it is in its infancy I believe that she will go far. I look forward to watching her career with interest and perhaps offering some practical help if she would like it in the future.

It certainly was an incredible beneficial afternoon for me. Not only were the group of people dedicated and ambitious (which is contagious) they also reminded me of the basics. £250 ($400) is a lot of money when you are unemployed and trying to set up a business. It’s a lot of money full stop and I appreciated the opportunity to be reminded of this.

I truly wish all six candidates a succesful future and I hope to be involved again.

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Dizzy

There is a saying;

If you need something done then ask a busy person to do it.

If you’re an over-achiever as well as a busy person then not only do others ask you to do things but you ask yourself to do more than you have time for.

You get it done though. And if that’s you then when people tell you to slow down and relax you will find yourself puzzled at why you should.

Everyone works differently and thinks differently. For some, having a To Do list that spans several pages would send them into a panic. For others they thrive on the pressure and diversity of projects.

If you lead a team then you need to be able to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of individuals and work with them so they can play to their strengths. It is often difficult if you are a fast multi-tasker to manage an individual who needs to do one task at a time before they can even think about a second task.

Focusing on the results, rather than the route they take means that you don’t micro-manage them and can forge a better working partnership.

Leaving you dizzy with the things you like best – a full To Do list and the bottom line that proves the team are working together.

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Cloud Nine

Sometimes, in business as well as life, everything seems to go ‘right’. We find things come easy, that we’re firing on all cylinders, that we have the Midas touch – and various more clichés apply. Unfortunately these periods tend not to last for very long. Fate has a habit of sneaking along and tripping you up.

For most of them time we find that things tend to be more of a seesaw; one thing goes well and you go up, then another goes wrong and brings you crashing back down again. Quite often giving you a bruised bottom to boot.

July this year tended to consist of a very hard, fast and high seesaw. But we got through the traumas and dramas and the end result is absolutely fantastic.

When we finish so well it is easy to float on cloud nine, and there certainly should be celebrating and enthusiasm and lots of congratulations.

But staying on cloud nine isn’t conducive to life or business and so I have happily returned back to my desk to once again take my place at the end of the seesaw.

But July has certainly given me a cushion to pad the seat.

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