Is Today’s Leadership Addicted to Risk?

Days before this TED talk entitled Addicted to Risk, journalist Naomi Klein was on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico, looking at the catastrophic results of BP’s risky pursuit of oil. She argues that our societies have become addicted to extreme risk in finding new energy, new financial instruments and more … and too often, we’re left to clean up a mess afterward. Klein’s question: What’s the backup plan?

She reveals that Tony Hayward, BP’s CEO at the time of the tragedy, had a plaque in his office that read “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Klein implies that this mantra combined with his hubris contributed to his risk taking behavior and that of the organization he lead. Please check it out!

Here is the link to the TED Talk: Addicted to Risk

So, here are some questions you may want to reflect upon:

Is your management style mostly conservative or risky?

Is risk another word for greed?  How are they different?

As a leader in today’s competitive environment, how do you address the need to maximize profits while minimizing risk?

How do you assess risk? How much risk is acceptable? How do you manage it?

Is failure an option? If not, why not?

Can you ever have too much confidence? If yes, what are signs that you look for that help you adjust and take notice?

How much time and effort do you spend on contingency planning?

Conversely, when has being conservative resulted in great profits?

As always, I look forward to your comments and questions.

We become what we think about.

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