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Risks That Advance Careers...And Make Life Amazing

It’s not in everyone’s DNA to initiate, to strive for the new and vital, to improve and innovate. But if it is in yours, what are you doing for your company, for your industry, and for yourself? Are you looking to see what could be done better and faster? Can you tap into new markets? Have you thought of approaches? Figured out ways to provide better service?

If you have done that thinking, have you had the courage to step forward and do it--or propose it? (By the way, this applies to people in job search too).

It can be so worth it. But it is risky.

People might think you’re crazy.
I recently met a retired engineer who worked at Motorola when they developed the cell phone. He thought people could communicate by text instead of just voice. But when he brought it up, he ran into fierce resistance. At one point, someone threatened to throw him out of the meetings if he didn’t shut up about texting. Why would anyone text when they could talk? What an insane idea!

Your idea might not work.
True, your idea might be a flop. But that's the risk. People who make a difference often fail. So they try something new and maybe fail again. Edison “failed” hundreds of times when he was striving to find the proper filament for the electric light bulb. Colonel Sanders had a recipe for fried chicken, and he initially tried to sell it to existing restaurants. He got hundreds of no’s before he got his first yes.

And don’t you owe it to your company—or to yourself—to take the risk?

Over and over, we see that companies that don’t change whither and die. Competitors aren’t sitting on their laurels. Companies that get complacent and indifferent to their customers’ needs (LinkedIn comes to mind) often get blindsided by a competitor who comes from a different direction.

The Lesson of Eastman Kodak and Steve Sasson
Eastman Kodak built a mighty empire on the sales of cameras and photographic film. All was well. They were fat and happy. Then came a remarkable development--not from a competitor, but right inside their own company.

An Eastman Kodak employee named Steven Sasson invented and patented the digital camera. But the company never really embraced it. They feared this technology would cut into their lucrative photographic film sales. Why disturb a good thing?  

Fortunately for Eastman Kodak, they made billions off Sasson’s patent. Unfortunately for them, the patent expired in 2007. Soon, the company was swamped by the digital revolution and went bankrupt in 2012. Had the executives listened to Sasson, their company might have catapulted itself to new heights. Well, Steven Sasson tried.

Your idea might not be as earthshaking as texting or digital photography. It might just save a few minutes of time, it might produce a slightly better looking or more effective product, or it might make customers happier. But do it.

Poke In the Box

In his book, “Poke the Box,” (I highly recommend it!) Seth Godin said, “The simple thing that separates successful individuals from those who languish is the very thing that separates exciting and growing organizations from those that stagnate and die.” That is, “Your position in the world is defined by what you instigate, how you provoke, and what you learned from the events you cause. In a world filled with change, that’s what matters – your ability to create and learn from change.”

Paul Tillich said this, “He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.”  Ouch!

Are You Ready to Take a Risk?
We encourage you to take risks to make your company and/or your life better. Taking the risk may lead you on an amazing journey. You may wind up with a promotion, working in another department, another company, a company of your own--who knows?

If we can be of help to you with an initiative, please call. We love talking to risk takers.

Besides helping people to find new jobs outside their former or present employer, we’ve also helped many people to navigate within their own companies.

Call us today. 847-673-0339

Also, we’d love to hear your stories about risks you took and your successes! Please post on our blog.



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