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Conservative or Risky?


Conservative or Risky?

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Conservative or Risky?

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Ian Massi
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Well, our leader said that if our company doesn't get aggressive in this downturn the company will wither since our competitors will. As long as the risks he takes aren't poorly thought out (they aren't) then it's all good.
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Who's to say what is risky?

Andrew Carnegie used to spend lots of money during economic downturns to upgrade his factories. When the economy turned around, he benefited by having the most efficient plants and was able to outproduce his competitors.
mhaskins
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Where I work, the leadership is not risky. The growth is slow, the opportunities for employees are very few. On the other hand, my job is relatively safe. In the end, I'd better like my job because that's all I'm ever going to be doing here until I decide to leave. I will never get promoted or even get a large pay-raise or bonus.

Slow and steady will not win the race, but it'll keep you in there for a good long time.Doze

Mia

I have come to the conclusion that the top man has one principle responsibility: to provide an atmosphere in which creative mavericks can do useful work.
-- David M. Ogilvy
Andy Lennon
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[b]Personally I would rather have a more conservative leader that values aggressive advice, and acts on some of it, but stewards the business rather than runs along embracing each new opportunity. I prefer to see a business run as a long-term, perpetual entity that strives to make a profit and sustain itself, which is a more conservative view.


That sounds pretty good to me.
If you have an agressive, risk-taking person at the top and there's a screwup, there can be a serious loss of faith in the abilities of that leader and a corresponding drop in morale. On the other hand, if the driving force for risk and innovation is a level below the executive, he/she can remain relatively seperated from the mundane goings-on and maintain a dignified (to further the military analogy) officer-like standing.
Chris Harshman
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In some instances, I think it would be nice just to have some kind of leadership at all. The company I currently work for seems to have more emotional "rah-rah go team" kind of leadership than business and decision making leadership. The software product I work on for example, has an elaborate committee of managers to make decisions in a rather long drawn out process (with very little input from our clients) for a project that only has 2 web developers and myself as the lone DBA/database developer. It's often painfull to get anyone to make decisions.

In general though, I think I'd want a balanced leader that was willing to receive conservative and risky advice, and was able to find the right balance between the two.
Steven Cameron
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The type of organization could dictate how conservative or risky a leader can be. In banking, you can't appear to be taking risks. In tech, cutting edge risk taking is almost required to get attention.
Steve Jones
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Any company can have conservative or risky leadership, it's just in how it's applied. I think lots of investment banks have been very risky with derivatives. Hospitals can choose to push forward experiments on people, etc.

I'm curious what you prefer, from your point of view. I'm with Mia on the slow and steady thing.

If your company lacks leadership, suggest "It's Your Ship", it's a great book. Even for you, might give you ideas on how to prod them as well.

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Anye Mercy
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As with most things, the answer is in the middle. A company can't always be taking risks or one big one will sink it. Calculated risk is the name of the game I think.

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Anye Mercy
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GSquared
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I prefer a more adventurous company, but there has to be a balance.

One company I worked for took some risks on moving to a whole new industry. I was one of the first employees in a new department that ended up absorbing the whole rest of the company. Massive, incredible growth for three years, then it began to steady up and growth was slower for the next two years.

Several risks were taken early on, and some skilled management was needed to quickly determine which ones were panning out vs which ones needed to be dropped.

Then, finally, in the last two years of the company, a major risk was taken, and when it consistently generated a negative ROI, the owners of the company just kept throwing resources at it for pretty much insane reasons. The company ended up out of business.

The first years were a great example of risk with judgement, and worked beautifully. Went from about $1-million per year to over $12-million per year in three years. But they got sloppy, stopped paying attention to important details, etc., and the company died from it.

Risk properly managed is a good thing. Was very fun for those years, and pay just kept getting better and better. Risk with obsession, not so good.

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