Question-Week ending Sunday 01/18/04:
Judging from your past experiences, what would you consider the GREATEST RISK you took, AT THE TIME YOU DECIDED TO TAKE IT? Please read our Pre-Poll Commentary before taking this poll.
This is the FINAL POLL in our Qualities of Leadership poll series, which began on August 24th, 2003. In this final leadership poll, we will discuss the willingness to take risks. For the purpose of this poll, we will describe risk in the context of - "a decision you make for positive gains while being exposed to a chance of loss, damage or hazard." This is a somewhat manufactured meaning, but nonetheless describes what we must be willing to do to each day to not only survive but thrive.
We all measure risk by how our thoughts interpret different situations. For instance - statistics may prove that it is safer to fly on a commercial airline than it is to drive in a car for long distances. However, if we have the time, most of us would probably choose the higher risk of driving over flying because we would feel more in control of our destiny. Statistics and risk probabilities are less important when it comes to how our thoughts process these two activities.
Great leaders tend to take "calculated risks," by first measuring the RISK - REWARD factors involved. If taking a risk for a windfall return means betting the company's future existence on it - that's no longer considered risk - that's called gambling. A calculated risk might be described as "when a company can afford to make an investment in a new technology or in the receivable of a new client - that has a promising upside potential with a manageable downside."
The old metaphor that "there's no gain without pain" can be related to risk. To advance and move forward in any endeavor requires some risk. Relating to this week's poll question - there's lots of risk involved when you get married. We marry for the possible rewards of sharing your life with a wonderful and caring person. But statistics show that half of all great intention-ed marriages end in divorce. Many divorced individuals suffer great losses along with their children for the rest of their lives. There's also risk in purchasing a home, becoming a business owner, changing jobs, investing in the stock market, or flying in an airplane.
Please answer this week's poll - "judging from your past experiences, what would you consider the GREATEST RISK you took, AT THE TIME YOU DECIDED TO TAKE IT?"
This poll will end on Sunday 01/18/04, when the results will be displayed.
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- 34% of voters chose CHANGING JOBS from our list as the GREATEST RISK they took, AT THE TIME THEY DECIDED TO TAKE IT?
- 23% of voters chose INVESTING IN THE STOCK MARKET from our list as the GREATEST RISK they took, AT THE TIME THEY DECIDED TO TAKE IT?
- 17% of voters chose GETTING MARRIED from our list as the GREATEST RISK they took, AT THE TIME THEY DECIDED TO TAKE IT?
- 15% of voters chose FLYING ON AN AIRPLANE from our list as the GREATEST RISK they took, AT THE TIME THEY DECIDED TO TAKE IT?
- 09% of voters chose BECOMING A BUSINESS OWNER from our list as the GREATEST RISK they took, AT THE TIME THEY DECIDED TO TAKE IT?
- 02% of voters chose PURCHASING A HOME from our list as the GREATEST RISK they took, AT THE TIME THEY DECIDED TO TAKE IT?
From our list of risks this week, CHANGING JOBS captured the number one position in votes. This is quite understandable, considering the uncertainty one may encounter when changing jobs voluntarily to improve their careers or financial status. Many times the "grass seems greener" theory backfires when you change jobs. One may enter "unfriendly waters" and learn that all those promises made during the interviewing process don't quite pan out. If this happens, the consequences of the decision to change jobs can extremely stressful and costly.
The same scenario can play out for all the risks one may take. So the question is "should we all just play it safe throughout our lives and avoid taking risks?" You can be the judge of where your life might be if you lived your life in that fashion.
Like all of the qualities of great leaders we discussed during this poll series, knowledge, planning, focus, execution and balance play important factors in success or failure. Learning and practicing high level skills, will make life's decisions easier and make life more fulfilling. We hope you've enjoyed this entire series and continue to learn and grow together with all of the viewers of this website.