Every leader I know attempts to limit a certain amount of risk when making decisions or leading change. We should attempt to have good systems, adequate resources and even contingency or emergency plans. We don't want to jeopardize the organization—ultimately, the people—we are trying to lead.
The problem for some leaders, however, is they confuse limiting risk with attempting to eliminate risk. I'm not sure we can ever fail-proof anything completely, so it's a futile attempt at best. The bigger problem, however, is what we end up missing out on in the process of attempting to eliminate risk. There are hidden costs involved in a leader who is overly cautious.
7 Hidden Costs of Attempting to Eliminate Risk
Limited growth. Personally and corporately, without a certain amount of risk there is no potential for growth. Growth happens in environments where the potential to fail is prevalent, accepted, and not scorned.
Unfulfilled dreams. Dreams are made of the seemingly impossible. The bigger the dream, the greater the risk. Healthy teams and organizations have big, lofty dreams pulling them forward.
False reality. Life is a constant risk. If a leader has as a goal an attempt to eliminate it, they are essentially playing tricks with mirrors and fancy lights. They've created an unachievable expectation for people who follow.
Underutilized resources. "Playing it safe" may make more sense on paper. It may even feel comfortable, but often the greatest growth potential occurs when resources are stretched. Ask the question "What would we do if we were forced to change and there was no money available?" It's amazing how creative people can become.
Wasted time. The time you invest trying to eliminate risk could be used to leverage risk for a greater gain. All of us only have so much time, so leaders must be diligent stewards of it.
Expensive opportunity loss. Whenever you choose not to do something because of the risk involved, there is always a loss associated. The organization will miss out somewhere on something by not moving forward soon enough. The greatest discoveries often involve people who are willing to assume the greatest risks.
Diminished momentum. The fact is that risk fuels momentum. There is something inside of most of us—especially the entrepreneurial or leader types—who thrive on achieving those things which seem impossible. When the chance of failure is high, so are the components which fuels momentum.
Leader, you can never fully eliminate risk—and this is one of the hard parts of leading. The time you spend attempting to do so will take precious time from doing other things, which probably can reap higher reward. Risk is a reality to be managed, not a problem to be avoided.
(This is absolutely true when leading in the church—perhaps more so, because we are to always be faith-driven. Faith always, by definition, deals with a level of the unknown.)
Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.
This article originally appeared on ronedmondson.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.