WATCH: How Much Risk Can You Tolerate?

In this episode, Id like to talk about ‘The Paradox of Opportunity Management’. And that’s the tendency and enjoyment of analysing and taking business or financial risks. It’s one of the 12 behavioural paradoxes developed by Dr. Dan Harrison. And, if we take a paradox as two statements, which seem to be opposing one another or contradicting one another, and yet are both true, we can take a behavioural paradox as two traits that seem to be contradicting one another and yet when they come together form something synergistic.


So, if we take ‘The Paradox of Opportunity Management’, we’ve got the trait of ‘Risking’. Which is the enjoyment of and comfort with and taking business risks and financial risks that involve uncertainty.

Analyses Pitfalls

And, if we take ‘Analyses Pitfalls’, as the enjoyment of scrutinising and exploring the difficulties related to a plan or a strategy. 


Now, if we’re very high on ‘Risking’ but low on ‘Analysed Pitfalls’, we can end up in the ‘Impulsive’ quadrant. And that means that we may be good at spotting opportunities but fail to actually analyse the potential difficulties related to it.  And, while we might want to be taking opportunities and taking advantage of opportunities. We may make expensive mistakes because we fail to explore and discuss the valid concerns of others. And we may see them as negative or dragging down our ideas. 


Where if we’re very high on ‘Analyses Pitfalls’ but low on ‘Risking’, we may be overly ‘Cautious’. We may be good at analysing the potential difficulties related to a plan but fail to explore the benefits of a particular opportunity. And, while we might be good at keeping the business safe and our intention is to keep the business safe. That ‘Cautious’ that over analysis of the problems may actually miss out. We may miss out on opportunities and therefore hinder the business growth or hinder the business’s ability to develop new capabilities.

Mindful Courage

So, what we want is ‘Mindful Courage’ where we can take risks, we can analyse the pitfalls, we can learn from our successes. And we can also learn valuable lessons from anything that’s less successful and become more successful in the future. Because being mindful helps us to avoid being ‘Impulsive’. And, when we’re ‘Courageous’, we avoid being ‘Cautious’.

So, when it comes to Opportunity Management, Stay curious! 

With best regards,

David Klaasen

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results.

©David Klaasen – 2022