To enable yourself and others who work with you, to take calculated risks you need to create a culture where optimism, creative imagination, invention, innovation, re-invention and improvisation are normative practices to you and those who look to you for leadership. Creating this culture starts with including it in your strategy. Everyone needs to understand that these concepts are part of the strategic intent. Clearly, most of these will manifest in the moment and the details cannot be anticipated in a strategy. But they are not random or chaotic acts either. When the opportunity arises they need to be referenced and aligned to the strategy. They are applied when you need to take advantage of a window of opportunity. They may also be enacted when you need to take the offensive and creatively cross edges to areas that yield new value or when you need to ensure that you retain sustainability.Be optimistic, invent, innovate, reinvent and improvise 1 

The intent of a calculated risk is to invent, reinvent, promote and refine what you offer. Unless you are inventing, reinventing, innovating and improvising you are in all likelihood about to be run over by the opposition. But, you do not necessarily need to invent something completely new. Many successful innovations were not brought about by outright inventions but rather by benchmarking and then reinventions through reconfiguring and adapting what already exists. But, I want to remind you that you cannot be original or become the best by relying on benchmarking and imitating. To become the best you need to produce something better than what exists. 

To promote a culture where people take calculated risks the strategy needs to emphasize that your strategic intent is to maximize gains. I realize there are times when the focus needs to be on averting and minimizing losses and in so doing surviving. But, if you are mostly focussing on minimizing losses, you will find it difficult to take calculated risks and besides you will have less fun. Notwithstanding, when you adopt a culture that promotes invention, reinvention, innovation and improvisation, standards must at all times be maintained.  

In this risk taking culture people need an attitude and an aptitude for these acts. Everyone needs to develop an unshakeable belief that sustainable solutions can be found. Risk taking will not survive in a bureaucratic environment. You need to protect inventors and innovators from bureaucrats.  When you encounter obstacles you need to persevere and flow towards alternate solutions. The analogy of a strong, flowing river confronting a rocky section springs to mind. Whilst the water is fluid and yielding, it is still strong. These qualities enable it to flow around or eventually wear away rock. Water does not need to fight the force of rock. It finds a way and you must also find a way. 

Use creative imagination

To take calculated risks you need to tap into creative imagination . You need to do different things and do things differently.There are Be optimistic, invent, innovate, reinvent and improvise 3many ways to do the same thing differently; the least beneficial is the one that ties up resources and is ponderous. You need more creative options. Everyone has a potential for creative imagination and can improve their abilities to use creative imagination and ingenuity. I have listed some ideas that you could consider to improve your creative imagination. 

Think of people who you feel have creative imagination

You may consider people living or dead. These are people against which you benchmark so that you springboard into becoming more daring and more risk embracing. Just to stimulate your thinking you could consider Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela, Napoleon, Helen Keller or Thomas Edison.  Then when you want creative imagination ask yourself: what would they do in this situation? 

Pay more attention to your creativity

We are reliably informed that our subconscious mind gives us more of what we pay attention to. When you ignore creative aspects of your life, you’re telling your subconscious these aspects are unimportant, but if you pay attention to creativity, your subconscious mind should start feeding you more creative ideas. 

See things from a different perspective

Which perspectives you are choosing to see the world through? Are you trapped by seeing the world through a news media perspective?  Try seeing things from more and different perspectives. Try looking at things from the perspective of a competitor, a friend, your partner, a customer or sometimes a child’s perspective. 

Be optimistic, invent, innovate, reinvent and improvise 5In the nineteen eighties Coca Cola tried a new perspective. At the time the big players in the soft drink industry were battling it out for small increases in market share. Talk was that Coke wouldn’t make it. Then Roberto Goizueta took over as leader and switched the company’s perspective. He said that Coke wasn’t fighting for a greater share of the cola market; they were fighting for a greater share of the stomach. Suddenly they were not only competing in the cola or fizzy drink market. They were competing with water, milk, coffee or whatever people drank. As a result of a change in perspective, Coke’s opportunity grew enormously and so did their creativity, their determination and their financial success. 

Be optimistic, invent, innovate, reinvent and improvise, Think of people who you feel have creative imagination, Pay more attention to your creativity, See things from a different perspective

Dr Steve Harris – Mind Doctor