Enhancing Your Risk Taking

Knowing when, where and how to take a risk has always bee critical to our survival. Displaying a willingness to take calculated risks is frequently cited as one example of the skills being required in the new knowledge worker. Taking a risk on new work methods or trusting other team members will be necessary for continued improvements in service and productivity. Risk is about fear and change and living - all the things we humans have been face with for years. Unfortunately everything is happening faster and exponentially.

Roberta has developed a model that provides an in-depth understanding of how individuals perceive risk differently and how to help assess the level of acceptance by others. The model can also be use to do an analysis of organization risk temperament.

This model, originally developed in 1990, is applicable in a number of scenarios besides Risk Taking including:

  •  Change Initiatives
  •  Decision Making Processes
  •  Personal Transitions

The Facts / Feelings Model of Risk Taking as shown below blends in the two key components of risk - an analytical predictability analysis along with the emotional component of a belief in our ability to control the outcomes.

When contemplating a risk one can determine how you perceive the risk personally by answering two questions.

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 be definitely and 10 being not alt all) how well can I calculate with some certainty the outcome?
  1. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 be definitely and 10 being not alt all) how comfortable am I with this choice?

Then using the two numbers, plot your position to identify the type of risk as you perceive it. If your point falls in the right half of the model, it is highly unlikely that you voluntarily accept and adopt the risk being contemplated. If on the other hand it fall to the left of the model, you will probably feel a sense of comfort in the choice and may follow through even though the risk assessment shows a higher probability of failure.

The interesting thing of course is that each person answers these two questions differently. We can argue the facts and sometimes come to an agreement. However, the emotional aspect, no matter how compelling the facts, may not change how we feel.

Traditionally those looking at the aspect of Risk Taking have tended to focus on one of these continuums to the detriment of the other. We recognize both and strive to balance and understand the interplay between both.

Would You Like to Use This Material?

Please contact Roberta if you would like to use this model in your work.  I am willing to send you the charts along with instructions.  My goal has always been to have people use this material in ways that can work for them.  I have two requests: 

  1. leave the work intact with credit and permissions
  2. let me know how you use the material and if you have derived any benefit

Providing Management Consulting Services in facilitation, training, restructuring conflict resolution, team building, coaching, leadership and communications (specifically body language)


    Ward-Green & Hill Associates Ltd.