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Taking risks
Episode 91st February 2024 • How to Take the Lead • Lee Griffith and Carrie-Ann Wade
00:00:00 00:44:22

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What is your risk appetite as a leader?

It's well evidenced that high-performing teams are those who are willing to take collective risk. But it's not easy to get to that place, especially if it's outside of your comfort zone.

In this episode, we chat all things risk and why your approach to it matters. We discuss:

  • how we define risks and how our approaches vary
  • risk awareness versus risk-taking
  • how your DISC profile - or preferences - can affect how you view and take risks
  • the requirement of psychological safety in building risk appetite
  • what good risk taking looks like
  • how to identify where you sit on a risk scale
  • how to become less risk averse
  • tackling risky behaviours in others without being a killjoy
  • getting alignment with your Board and taking people with you
  • embracing your inner risk-taker

Resources and helpful links

About How to Take the Lead

How to Take the Lead is a show exploring all things leadership.

Every episode we explore a different part of life as a leader, questioning everything we've ever learnt and sharing a few of our own stories along the way.

If you want to learn how to do leadership your own way, join hosts Lee Griffith and Carrie-Ann Wade as they debunk myths, tackle stereotypes and generally put the leadership world to rights.

Get involved

If you enjoyed this episode why not subscribe to the podcast. We would love it if you left us a rating or review and feel free to share the link to this episode with anyone else you think would find it interesting.

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Plus if you want to work with us to challenge and change leadership in your organisation get in touch by dropping us an email howtotakethelead@gmail.com or DM us on the socials.

Transcripts

Speaker:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I love it. That is a good and really practical

Speaker:

thing that people can just start doing tomorrow or whenever after

Speaker:

they've listened to this episode. So I really love that

Speaker:

one. I might well do it myself. Actually,

Lee Griffith:

I think you should

Lee Griffith:

welcome to how to take the leap the podcast where we challenge

Lee Griffith:

the myths and stereotypes of what it means to be a leader

Lee Griffith:

today, and help you to succeed in post without compromise. I'm

Lee Griffith:

Lee Griffith, and

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I'm Carrie-Ann Wade. And together we will be

Lee Griffith:

your guides question everything we've ever learned about

Lee Griffith:

leadership, sharing our experiences along the way, and

Lee Griffith:

inspiring you to make a real impact in your role. Visit how

Lee Griffith:

to

Lee Griffith:

take the lead.com For show notes, past episodes

Lee Griffith:

and join our community

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: enjoy this episode.

Lee Griffith:

So hello to everyone who is watching us on

Lee Griffith:

YouTube. It's lovely to have you here. For those who are just

Lee Griffith:

listening to us. Hello. Just listening to us those who listen

Lee Griffith:

to you are very welcome. And that is a noble pursuit you are

Lee Griffith:

doing to take no we don't we don't

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: like the just nobody is just an anything.

Lee Griffith:

You're not just a listener. I feel valued member of our to

Lee Griffith:

take the lead community,

Lee Griffith:

I feel privileged that you decided for us to be

Lee Griffith:

your listening companion whilst you clean the house, do the

Lee Griffith:

dishes walk the dog drive to or from work, however you might be

Lee Griffith:

listening, and we'd love to hear how people do listen to us. And

Lee Griffith:

so you are very welcome here as our substitute community where

Lee Griffith:

we have a bit of a offload, download, whatever you want to

Lee Griffith:

call it over there. On each episode, we give little extra

Lee Griffith:

sneaky bonus stuff and prompts and things we haven't been able

Lee Griffith:

to talk about. Usually what it's one of us in a bit of a

Lee Griffith:

reflective mode, having come away thinking about what we've

Lee Griffith:

been talking about and what the other person said. So we share

Lee Griffith:

our thoughts over there. So you are very welcome to join us all

Lee Griffith:

the set of links that you need will all be down here somewhere

Lee Griffith:

or in the show notes if you are listening on to the podcast app

Lee Griffith:

of choice. Did I rescue myself?

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: You did your best Yeah, you dug yourself back

Lee Griffith:

out of the hole you started digging well done.

Lee Griffith:

How are you this fine, fine day carry on? Hi,

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I'm good. Thank you very much Lee. I'm in a sort

Lee Griffith:

of I did not not reflective headspace but in a like a feel a

Lee Griffith:

bit like oh, I need to you know been doing a lot of thinking.

Lee Griffith:

What's what's coming up next for me? How do I need to get on top

Lee Griffith:

of the things that I need to achieve as a leader and in the

Lee Griffith:

workplace? So yeah, I feel like I've so far had a good week.

Lee Griffith:

Thanks very much. How

Lee Griffith:

are you? Was it was just one episode. You were

Lee Griffith:

so in awe with my ripping up

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: well, it didn't take me it did take me a week to

Lee Griffith:

pick my chin up off the floor when you said you'd Richard D

Lee Griffith:

list up. So you know, obviously after I got over that shock, I

Lee Griffith:

needed a good sugary tea. To sort myself out. I thought Yeah,

Lee Griffith:

why not start disrupting your own Southie you're thinking what

Lee Griffith:

you what you want out of life as a leader. So yeah, it's all been

Lee Griffith:

good. Thank you. How

Unknown:

about you influenced?

Unknown:

Carrie-Ann Wade: You are now officially an influencer. So I'm

Unknown:

gonna say I'm

Lee Griffith:

good. I'm good. I'm, I'm yeah, I'm enjoying the

Lee Griffith:

vibe of 2024. So I was about to say 2025 Obviously, I'm not in

Lee Griffith:

the future. I'm enjoying the vibe of 2024. And good. Just

Lee Griffith:

yeah, I find finding my feet finding my foot in front of

Lee Griffith:

things up in the air a little bit, but also not really doing

Lee Griffith:

any of that either. Because consistency and persistence are

Lee Griffith:

my buzzwords for this year. So like

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: now I think we're well into the year now and

Lee Griffith:

I'm yet to think what my word of the year is going to be. So

Lee Griffith:

that'll be my reflection for after this episode.

Lee Griffith:

Okay, well, we today's episode feels a bit like

Lee Griffith:

a natural extension to the discussion of last week, which

Lee Griffith:

was all around disruptive leadership and this one I want

Lee Griffith:

to explore the topic of taking risks and I think it's one of

Lee Griffith:

those areas that can be really divisive because some people

Lee Griffith:

absolutely love taking risks living on the edge that's it

Lee Griffith:

well i By

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: the way, I'm not going to throw myself out of

Lee Griffith:

a plane or anything like that anytime soon, but it might give

Lee Griffith:

you some some indication to the level of risk I'm willing to

Lee Griffith:

take at least in my personal life.

Lee Griffith:

But others I think it brings out if fear and I was

Lee Griffith:

gonna say as you rushed into the bathroom but after last week's

Lee Griffith:

episode I'm gonna keep don't go there. Don't go there.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: change tack change tack quick,

Lee Griffith:

you know bring brings you out Hyves that let's

Lee Griffith:

let's, let's say that instead. So it's I think. So I think

Lee Griffith:

there's there's that element of how people react to the thought

Lee Griffith:

of taking a risk. And then I think there's the element of

Lee Griffith:

what people see as risk can vary as well. So inherently, the job

Lee Griffith:

you do might have high risk. I mean, we've both come from used

Lee Griffith:

to work in, but we both have a health service background, for

Lee Griffith:

example, where the decisions that people make and the actions

Lee Griffith:

that people take, have a life and death consequence. But other

Lee Griffith:

risks could be financial, reputational, legal, there's all

Lee Griffith:

sorts of ramifications of the decisions and actions that you

Lee Griffith:

take. And so I wanted to discuss this topic today, because I

Lee Griffith:

think it builds on the areas that we touched on last week

Lee Griffith:

around disruption, but also, because how you manage risk

Lee Griffith:

directly affects the performance, but you know, your

Lee Griffith:

performance, your team's performance, your organizational

Lee Griffith:

performance, and high performing organizations are those who are

Lee Griffith:

willing to take risks. But how do you get comfortable with

Lee Griffith:

being that type of leader? When do you know if a risk is worth

Lee Griffith:

taking? And what if you're just too risky kind of person? Yeah.

Lee Griffith:

So that's, that's what I want to explore in today's conversation.

Lee Griffith:

So kicking us off Karianne so that everybody is starting in

Lee Griffith:

the same place? How have you defined risk in your career?

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I guess this is quite an interesting one for me.

Lee Griffith:

And where I started, when I was thinking about this question was

Lee Griffith:

risk being about weighing up the potential gains, or the

Lee Griffith:

potential good, that could be caused through something versus

Lee Griffith:

the harm? So what's the potential gain versus the

Lee Griffith:

potential harm of doing or not doing something, sometimes it's

Lee Griffith:

actually about making a choice not to do something. And that

Lee Griffith:

can be as risky as choosing to do something. So that was kind

Lee Griffith:

of where my head first went to, in thinking about that question.

Lee Griffith:

And then I guess I kind of bought it back down to me, and

Lee Griffith:

my own career. And from that perspective, I did reflect

Lee Griffith:

actually, and I feel like from a career point of view, I have

Lee Griffith:

probably been quite open to risk, because I've been very

Lee Griffith:

open to new opportunities to pushing myself outside of my

Lee Griffith:

comfort zone, for going for things and doing things that I

Lee Griffith:

might not have done, if I was more risk adverse. I'd also say

Lee Griffith:

that I'm, well, you will know this for sure and say, Well,

Lee Griffith:

other listeners, probably. But I'm also not a perfectionist,

Lee Griffith:

which I think sometimes means that I might be a bit more

Lee Griffith:

spontaneous or a bit quicker to perhaps put things out there

Lee Griffith:

before they are fully formed in terms of an idea, a way of

Lee Griffith:

working something that I'm hoping to achieve. And I would

Lee Griffith:

say that especially so in, on the business side of my career,

Lee Griffith:

and in the collaborations that I'm part of, and I feel like I

Lee Griffith:

do that almost as a way of forcing myself to do the things

Lee Griffith:

that I might otherwise feel were too risky. Because if I've

Lee Griffith:

declared them in public, then I need to be accountable for that

Lee Griffith:

and, and make them happen. So that's kind of been one of the

Lee Griffith:

ways that I've dealt with risk in terms of risk to kind of my

Lee Griffith:

development and growth as a coach, as a leader in in my

Lee Griffith:

career. And I have to say, that personally, as I've progressed

Lee Griffith:

in my career, I think I felt more able to take risks, the

Lee Griffith:

more I thought about what's the worst thing that can happen. If

Lee Griffith:

I do or don't do this, what is the worst possible outcome? And

Lee Griffith:

as long as to me, the level of harm isn't incomprehensible or

Lee Griffith:

dangerous or going to cause death and as you said, working

Lee Griffith:

in healthcare, a lot of the time is a life or death kind of

Lee Griffith:

sector to work in. If it's not dangerous then for me there's

Lee Griffith:

always been something about why why would I not try this to see

Lee Griffith:

what happens? I guess the one area as I was reflecting that

Lee Griffith:

I'm probably I probably am more risk adverse to you than other

Lee Griffith:

areas there has definitely been when it's come to money. So

Lee Griffith:

things that have been finance related so whether that salaries

Lee Griffith:

so personal to me or to other people that I'm working with in

Lee Griffith:

my team, whether that's about budget that's been the area

Lee Griffith:

probably where I've been is kind of laissez faire about things.

Lee Griffith:

And I reflected on whether or not that's been because a lot of

Lee Griffith:

my career has been in the public sector. And for me, that's other

Lee Griffith:

people's money. So that's a tap of the taxpayers money that I'm

Lee Griffith:

having to be responsible and accountable for. So has that

Lee Griffith:

made me think that the risk, there probably needs to be more

Lee Griffith:

measured and weighed up in a different way? So that was kind

Lee Griffith:

of the rambling thoughts that came to mind when, when I was

Lee Griffith:

thinking about defining risk in my career today, and I'm not

Lee Griffith:

sure if that is where you were expecting some of that to go.

Lee Griffith:

But that is what kind of came into my head,

Lee Griffith:

it was definitely a few things that I want to

Lee Griffith:

unpack as we carry on with the conversation. But to bring it

Lee Griffith:

back to a an organizational level. Why do you think it's

Lee Griffith:

important for leaders to be more aware of risk and taste taking

Lee Griffith:

risks? And I do say this as two separate things, because I think

Lee Griffith:

that they are, I think you have risks in what you do day to day.

Lee Griffith:

Yeah. But then you've got those bigger strategic risks related

Lee Griffith:

to decisions and actions that you you, you will have to take

Lee Griffith:

as a leader to take an organization forward.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Yeah, I think you're right to separate the

Lee Griffith:

two, because there's the inherent risk that comes through

Lee Griffith:

leading an organization, whatever that organization might

Lee Griffith:

look like for your organization, a lot of which might be outside

Lee Griffith:

of your own control. So risk can happen, because something is

Lee Griffith:

happening in society that is causing that potential risk to

Lee Griffith:

your organization that, you know, going back to finances

Lee Griffith:

that might be a cost of living crisis, and what's the risk to

Lee Griffith:

your organization of operating in that space, versus the risks

Lee Griffith:

that you might decide to take some progress your organization

Lee Griffith:

to respond to something to make an improvement. So I definitely

Lee Griffith:

think that separation from an organizational viewpoint of risk

Lee Griffith:

is an important one to take. I think in terms of risk, as an

Lee Griffith:

organization, it's important for you to be aware of and

Lee Griffith:

considering risk, because it will be about how do the things

Lee Griffith:

that are happening? What is the potential impact they will have

Lee Griffith:

on our organization? And is there an opportunity to ready

Lee Griffith:

ourselves for any of that and prepare for it. So whether

Lee Griffith:

that's in an emergency planning capacity, whether that's in a

Lee Griffith:

business continuity space, whether that's in succession

Lee Griffith:

planning, what you know, whatever those risks might look

Lee Griffith:

like? Are you as an organization ready to take action if you need

Lee Griffith:

to, to help mitigate some of that risk and make that risk,

Lee Griffith:

have less of a negative impact for your organization? I guess

Lee Griffith:

in terms of the other element about sort of risk management

Lee Griffith:

and that feeling a bit different. There's something for

Lee Griffith:

me there about what's your appetite as an organization and

Lee Griffith:

leadership team, to take him risk. If that is going to help

Lee Griffith:

you progress, your strategy and the direction of travel, you

Lee Griffith:

want your organization to go in because I guess there's that,

Lee Griffith:

you know, the age old adage isn't there that if you do

Lee Griffith:

everything, if you keep doing everything the same, you can't

Lee Griffith:

expect a different outcome. So if as an organization, you're

Lee Griffith:

hoping for a different outcome, there might be a level of risk

Lee Griffith:

that your leadership team, your board, your organization needs

Lee Griffith:

to be willing to take. And you need to have had conversations

Lee Griffith:

about that, so that you're actually making decisions, from

Lee Griffith:

a place where you all understand each other's point of view

Lee Griffith:

around how you're going to be forward. And

Lee Griffith:

as you mentioned earlier, there's there's also

Lee Griffith:

the decision making around if we do nothing, we take no action

Lee Griffith:

that in and of itself, awareness of risk because organizations if

Lee Griffith:

they don't progress, they don't stay still definitely they go

Lee Griffith:

backwards in many ways. So there is that thing around, yes, we

Lee Griffith:

might find comfort in keeping doing what we've always done.

Lee Griffith:

And this is why there's that link with the disruptive

Lee Griffith:

leadership and discussion we had last week. But you need to have

Lee Griffith:

that awareness that that no action has risk as much as

Lee Griffith:

taking an action or a decision. Yeah. Sorry that.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: We wait for me to respond because

Lee Griffith:

I absolutely agree with you intends to go like I

Lee Griffith:

say something. You then like bounce off of it. We interact,

Lee Griffith:

but

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I just I was because I agreed with you. And I

Lee Griffith:

was thinking oh yeah, Lee's right there. And then all right.

Lee Griffith:

Sorry. I was I was mulling over what you were saying. And then

Lee Griffith:

my silence was consent as it I agree with what I agree with the

Lee Griffith:

point that you've just made sorry, Lee.

Lee Griffith:

That's fine. That's fine. I'm only trying to

Lee Griffith:

run a bloody plus podcast there.

Lee Griffith:

I'm so one of the things that I do with my clients are disc

Lee Griffith:

assessments which people might have heard. And it's a

Lee Griffith:

psychometric profiling tool that I find really helpful to

Lee Griffith:

understand communication preferences, and how teams work

Lee Griffith:

with each other and how individuals react in certain

Lee Griffith:

situations, particularly in such situations of stress. And I know

Lee Griffith:

you've read the book surrounded by idiots, other people might

Lee Griffith:

have read it to you. And if you have, you'll be familiar with

Lee Griffith:

the different color types that they use, which are the same

Lee Griffith:

colors that we use in disc. So what's clear if you've done the

Lee Griffith:

test, or if you've read the book is that people will naturally

Lee Griffith:

have certain types of preferences or strengths or

Lee Griffith:

things that they'll call on in certain areas. And then they'll

Lee Griffith:

have to learn how to lean into the upper areas. And as we

Lee Griffith:

always say, like any strength becomes a weakness if overuse,

Lee Griffith:

so you have to learn how to balance them all. So in desk in

Lee Griffith:

the kind of colors, a D, a red tie, is someone who's pretty

Lee Griffith:

directive, they like to get on and take action, they're more

Lee Griffith:

likely likely to feel really comfortable to take that risk.

Lee Griffith:

Or they'll take actions actually, without even thinking

Lee Griffith:

through risks. And so, yeah, the positives of that type of person

Lee Griffith:

is that they tend to get stuff done, and get it done quickly.

Lee Griffith:

The flip side of that is that they can land an organization in

Lee Griffith:

hot water because they move without thinking too much. And

Lee Griffith:

then you've got, I suppose the opposite side of that, that

Lee Griffith:

personality type, which is a see a blue type, where they're

Lee Griffith:

careful and cautious, and they focus on the compliance. And

Lee Griffith:

they're going to be the ones that are super aware of risk.

Lee Griffith:

And they're likely to be trying to mitigate them as much as

Lee Griffith:

possible for the organization. So that means in their mind,

Lee Griffith:

they're protecting an organization, but to others that

Lee Griffith:

might be seen as stifling innovation. They might be

Lee Griffith:

delaying and slowing things down, it can be really

Lee Griffith:

frustrating for people having to interact with that. And

Lee Griffith:

obviously, you've got varying degrees of people that sit in

Lee Griffith:

between that. So I'm interested Karianne in what's been your

Lee Griffith:

approach to risk and how comfortable you've felt in

Lee Griffith:

taking I know, you've mentioned some of this already in your,

Lee Griffith:

your approach. But that was kind of the, for a personal lens,

Lee Griffith:

when you come to like leading an organization leading a function

Lee Griffith:

sitting around an executive table, how comfortable Have you

Lee Griffith:

felt? And what type of role Have you played, I suppose when

Lee Griffith:

looking at those types. So

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I think for me, there's definitely something

Lee Griffith:

about the importance of diverse thinking, and approaches. So I

Lee Griffith:

think what you've demonstrated with the couple of examples

Lee Griffith:

you've given us, we call them the red and the blue, and then

Lee Griffith:

at different ends of the spectrum, different extremes.

Lee Griffith:

What if I made you laugh about it?

Lee Griffith:

Because you said the red and the blue, I've

Lee Griffith:

instantly got an ear worm, which was a red car and a blue car,

Lee Griffith:

head on face.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: Nisha another nice reference. If the bingo

Lee Griffith:

cards out, there's, there's one for you that I was like, what if

Lee Griffith:

I said, Now the car in the blue car had erase? Absolutely. Do

Lee Griffith:

you remember that, and it's making me want to eat chocolate

Lee Griffith:

now. So I've tried not to be distracted by the idea of a

Lee Griffith:

Milky Way. So I think that was available. But I mean, if and if

Lee Griffith:

any of them would like to sponsor us feel free. I'm sorry,

Lee Griffith:

I've totally lost my train of thought. Now you have. I was

Lee Griffith:

thinking about the importance of that diverse mix of thinking and

Lee Griffith:

approach in your leadership team. So I'm not a red, and I'm

Lee Griffith:

not a blue, if I go by those kind of scores and descriptions

Lee Griffith:

in discourse surrounded by idiots. But it's important for

Lee Griffith:

me to have that mix in the team that I work in, because I think

Lee Griffith:

that's what leads to the best types of discussion and

Lee Griffith:

challenge around the risks that you might need to take as an

Lee Griffith:

organization. Because if you had a leadership team that was full

Lee Griffith:

of people who weren't really that bothered about the risk,

Lee Griffith:

and we're just going to crack on and do it that would be

Lee Griffith:

potentially hugely dangerous and damaging. If you had a

Lee Griffith:

leadership team in an organization that we're all

Lee Griffith:

people who were completely cautious and risk adverse, you'd

Lee Griffith:

probably never take a risk ever, and your organization would miss

Lee Griffith:

out. So I think we've mentioned in other episodes of the podcast

Lee Griffith:

that that diversity of thought and diversity of approach in a

Lee Griffith:

leadership team being really important. So I think the teams

Lee Griffith:

that I have seen operate is best the right way set the best teams

Lee Griffith:

I've seen in terms of considering and thinking about

Lee Griffith:

risks. have been the teams that do have that real mix in. So I

Lee Griffith:

see my role in a team often as the person who will provide some

Lee Griffith:

of that constructive challenge and hold the mirror up and say,

Lee Griffith:

Hang on a minute have, do we feel comfortable that we have

Lee Griffith:

considered everything here? And let's just do that check in. So

Lee Griffith:

I feel like that's where I've been in terms of being in some

Lee Griffith:

of these leadership teams. Some of the more challenging teams

Lee Griffith:

I've seen are those ones where the dominant approach and

Lee Griffith:

leadership style is, is one or the other, and nothing in

Lee Griffith:

between, actually. And so yeah, sorry, because I was still

Lee Griffith:

thinking about Milky Way, I'm not sure I'm sure I'm probably

Lee Griffith:

waffling now, but it's not full on risk all the time. And it's

Lee Griffith:

not playing it safe all the time. And the challenge, I think

Lee Griffith:

has been when you've just got a roomful of people who are very

Lee Griffith:

similar in terms of their type.

Lee Griffith:

Well, I was thinking, as you were talking

Lee Griffith:

through there, what I wrote down was psychological safety, and

Lee Griffith:

how much risk taking is an important outcome of having a

Lee Griffith:

psychologically safe organization. And again, if we

Lee Griffith:

go back to high performing organizations, performing teams,

Lee Griffith:

they have high levels of psychological safety, that they

Lee Griffith:

feel comfortable to challenge each other, in taking risks. And

Lee Griffith:

it's and it's not about them, you know, shouting down each

Lee Griffith:

other's ideas, but it's the constructiveness of that, and

Lee Griffith:

feeling able to raise questions and whatnot. And so you're

Lee Griffith:

right. And if you're in a position where there is a

Lee Griffith:

domineering force, there's unlikely to be safe, safe

Lee Griffith:

circumstances in which that can be challenged, and then the

Lee Griffith:

whole kind of concept of risk. And what you'll probably get in

Lee Griffith:

that type of situation is over types, hunkering down to their

Lee Griffith:

type even more, because that is where they know that's their

Lee Griffith:

comfort. They're not they won't be willing to kind of spread

Lee Griffith:

their wings a little bit into the other. So yeah, that's a

Lee Griffith:

really interesting point. What does good risk taking look like

Lee Griffith:

to you? In the teams where

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: I've seen it work well, and felt that it's

Lee Griffith:

worked? Well, it's definitely been about open conversation. So

Lee Griffith:

maybe speak to your point about that psychological safety, open

Lee Griffith:

conversation, feedback and discussion, where you really

Lee Griffith:

feel like what you're talking about is weighing up the pros

Lee Griffith:

and cons of risk. And it's about doing their due diligence, so

Lee Griffith:

not just doing things on a hunch, or like instinct. And

Lee Griffith:

sometimes instinct is a good thing. Please don't get me

Lee Griffith:

wrong, but I think in the context of what we're talking

Lee Griffith:

about, it is about that due diligence. So they balance in

Lee Griffith:

with intuition. Yes, absolutely. I think that is a good kind of

Lee Griffith:

scale, actually, to get the balance right with. So I think

Lee Griffith:

that that counts, whether you are talking about it

Lee Griffith:

organizationally, or if you are thinking about your own personal

Lee Griffith:

self as an as a leader and your own individual career, it is

Lee Griffith:

about that way and up, kind of what's the feedback telling me

Lee Griffith:

versus, you know, what do I think is the right thing to do

Lee Griffith:

here. So I think that level of openness and transparency in

Lee Griffith:

conversation is important. And going back to what you said

Lee Griffith:

about disc and you're sort of profiling, understanding how the

Lee Griffith:

people who are decision making in the room with you actually

Lee Griffith:

operate and communicate is really important to be able to

Lee Griffith:

have that constructive conversation and constructive,

Lee Griffith:

constructive challenge, because I think if you don't take the

Lee Griffith:

time to understand where other people are at, you're never

Lee Griffith:

going to have the level of debate, you potentially need to

Lee Griffith:

talk about risk. And I think organizations that genuinely do

Lee Griffith:

actually talk about things like risk management risk appetite,

Lee Griffith:

and check in on that as a leadership team. You know, that

Lee Griffith:

that's where I feel like we're in a good space, because we're

Lee Griffith:

not ignoring risk. We're actually having a transparent

Lee Griffith:

conversation about what risk means for our organization and

Lee Griffith:

how we might mitigate risk, whether we have an appetite to

Lee Griffith:

take risks. So it's that kind of language as well, that I've

Lee Griffith:

seen, kind of actually in play, where it feels like that's,

Lee Griffith:

that's a good thing for the team and the organization.

Lee Griffith:

Yeah, I think I don't disagree with what you've

Lee Griffith:

said. And I would add to it that there's something for me about

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how you align risk and in the things that you were talking

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about this absolutely is what would be happening, aligning

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that risk to your organizational purpose. Around Testing, testing

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it with the Insight is almost that checking in with What do

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the people you serve think's most important? So you're taking

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risks around the right things for the good of the organization

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and the people that you serve? Yeah.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: So that alignment needs to be there with

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like, actually, what is it that you're trying to achieve? What

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are you here to do?

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Yeah. And then I think there's something for me

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about the measures. So yes, you need some elements of

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information to help you with decision making around whether

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to take a risk or not. But you also have got to be clear of how

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are we going to know whether this risk is a worth continuing

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with or stopping or, you know, have we seen what we've wanted

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to see by taking the actions that we take. And then there's

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something about how you manage people's expectations along the

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way of taking risk. And being clear that and again, it goes

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back to other conversations we've had about failures, okay,

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we'd like it, just because we're taking this risk doesn't mean it

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has to work. As long as we've got mitigations. And down, we're

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not always real and actual harm. And, and so sometimes we might

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decide we need to retreat, or we might decide we need to take a

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different tact or, or whatever that might be. But having that

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clarity in stepping into the decision is, is really, really

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important. And I think then knowing along the way, what my

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checkpoints, when will I know if it's in wherever we go, or, or

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stop or pause or whatever. Yeah.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: And that measurement, isn't it? How do

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you know, then how do you have a conversation? And how do you

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measure whether the risk was worth taking or not? So you

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might take the risk, but actually did it achieve the

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outcome that you were hoping that would and the intent that

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you wanted, and actually, if you don't do that evaluation piece,

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then you're actually going to just probably be in a team that

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not takes risk for risk sake, but that is taking risks without

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actually knowing whether there's any benefit of take that risk,

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and you just read too many risks in this, then you just risk

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repeating that again, without knowing whether it's gonna work.

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I was definitely too many risks in that was getting tongue tied,

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I

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was getting the we need a policy about policies to

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write MSA kind of vibe. So we've touched on the pros and the

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challenges in risk taking, how do you start as an individual to

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identify where you might sit on a risk scale that say, you know,

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zero, you've you wrap yourself up in cotton Worland. And those

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Poppy things, I can't think of the word bubble wrap bubble wrap

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Carrie-Ann Wade: the crate in some sort of couture fashion

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item here made of cotton wool and bubble wrap, zero

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10 is you know, you're jumping out of the

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airplane with no parachute and you don't really care. Like how

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do you figure out where where the scale of risk use it?

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Carrie-Ann Wade: I think intuitively, you probably know,

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from just hearing you describe that if I'm honest, Lee, you

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probably know if you're a one to five or a 10 or somewhere maybe

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a little bit in between, I think it's about considering having

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insight into the way in which you take and make decisions is

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definitely an important part like of working out how risk

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adverse or how much risk appetite that you might have. As

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always, there's something about seeking feedback, because

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actually, you might perceive yourself to be a hugely risky

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individual and very open to taking risks. And you might ask

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some of your nearest and dearest colleagues, it'd be like, Oh,

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come off it you like always got the safety harness on. Say,

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there's usually the

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ones that go on so risky, like, you're just wearing

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socks today. Fred,

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Carrie-Ann Wade: is like that. When people describe themselves

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as quirky. I'm like, Are you allowed to describe yourself as

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quirky? I'm not sure you're not if you call yourself? Yeah. So

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there is something for me about kind of seeking that feedback

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and test it testing that out. And I guess it's kind of how

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many times do you ask yourself the question of like, what's the

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worst thing that can happen here? If I make this decision?

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And how many times do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable in

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those conversations and decisions you might be having

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with yourself or with your wider leadership team? And when I talk

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about comfort, I guess my caveat would be, I don't mean around

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your professional integrity, because often if you feel like

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you're kind of professional integrities feeling a bit

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uncomfortable. There is probably something in there about this

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not being quite right. But there's some I mean, more about

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like, are you just coasting along because it feels safest or

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easiest or are you pushing that and feeling that level of

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discomfort about maybe just doing something a bit different

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and taking that risk? Yeah.

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And that's the link with the disruption piece

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that we spoke about last week, isn't it? I'm if you're perhaps

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someone who is risk averse. And you think that maybe you are

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holding back your organization or your team? How do you start

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to shift your thinking and approach?

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Carrie-Ann Wade: I think there's something for me about being

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able to purposefully ask yourself that, for me, it's

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always back to like, what's the worst thing that can can happen?

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Because I think often, again, I don't want to talk too much

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about what we talked about last week. But it's that fear, isn't

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it? There's a, there's a fear of taking the risk. So I think if

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you are able to pose the question to yourself and to

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others about what's the worst thing that can happen here, if

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we make this decision, I think that's a really good starting

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point to start testing, how much risk you might be prepared to

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take and where you might be able to push the boundaries of your

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natural comfort state of risk for sure. And I think there's

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something for me, you talked about the sort of evidence,

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didn't you and seek in that feedback, there is something

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about making sure that you are able to weigh up the pros and

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cons of that risk by by having that intelligence to hand to

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kind of de that checkpoint. So I think that that's the bit that

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might give you the layer of comfort to be able to be

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uncomfortable about taking a risk, because you're like,

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actually, I've seen that there's some evidence behind this. And

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I've been able to kind of look at that and review that before I

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take the risk.

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Yeah, yeah. I think they're really important.

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And it's there's quite a lot of reframing there, isn't it that

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you have to do to, to step into what might feel more comfortable

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for you? I think the other thing I'd add is this, trying to

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understand and recognize when you're being too attached to

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something because often we won't take risks. If we're really

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invested in whatever it is, that's, that's there that's

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already there, or that's happening, you're more likely to

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try different things, if you don't have the same investment

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in it, which I know can be a hard thing to consider,

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particularly when you think about, well, the investment of

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an organization is its purpose and its mission, and you want to

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align everything to that. I'm not saying that's what you throw

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throw, you don't throw that out of the way and go, Well, I can't

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be invested in that anymore. But it's more about like, we get

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invested in the mundane is the wrong word. But I can't think of

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another one. But like, structure and process and again, like the

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disruption disruptive episode, you know, we've always done it

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this way, and you get too attached to the stuff that

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doesn't really matter.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: Yeah, there's a comfort in that, though, isn't

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there? That's your comfort place. Because and I often have

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seen this in leadership teams where actually rather than focus

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on the bigger picture, and the risk you might need to take to

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get there. Because people feel nervous about taking that risk.

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It's easier to get an A we use this phrase a lot as well. It's

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easier to get into the weeds of things like the structure and

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operational processes, and then using that almost as a buffer or

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a shield to go well, we we can't do it. Because actually, there's

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all this stuff underneath it would all need to change and it

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will be too difficult and people weren't, you know, so I do think

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there is something there about you get into that space, because

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that's where you feel comfortable. And that's probably

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a sign that you're not embracing your inner risk taker, I guess,

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in terms of being in that space, for sure. And what

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if you work for someone who you think is too

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risky? And we've we've all worked with people like this,

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I'm sure how do you approach that without you being labeled

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as the killjoy, or the clipboard carrying bureaucrats or whatever

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they might call you?

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Carrie-Ann Wade: That is a tricky one, isn't it? Because

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because some of that might be about the psychological safety

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point that you raised. Because if you're in a leadership team

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where it feels psychologically safe, then you are obviously in

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a better position to be able to challenge some of that than if

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you're in a team where you think, Oh, God, if I challenge

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it, there's a consequence for me, and I'm really stick. I'm

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taking too much of a personal risk here to challenge it. But I

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think it goes back to me for like, what's the evidence that

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you can present? So can you have a conversation or bring into the

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conversation? Okay, if we take that decision? Are we all in

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this room now? So you make it less about the individual?

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Because it will be a collective decision for your leadership

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team? Are we all in this room now comfortable with what the

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potential consequences might be? And actually, it might then be

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your role to put into that space, the consequences that

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nobody's yet mentioned? Because obviously, it might not be in

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that risk takers best interest to look at all the consequences

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because they're only focused on the one that they are hoping to

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get from it. So I think there's ways you can do it in a measured

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unbalanced way that maybe makes it less, feel less like it's

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about an individual. But I also think it's back to that

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understanding their preference and their type. And looking at

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how you might have to adapt your communication style or approach

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to be able to kind of reach them in a way that will be meaningful

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for them and maybe get themselves to kind of check in

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on on kind of how they're operating. Yeah,

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I was having flashbacks as you were talking

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to, oh, good or bad. In between? I don't think sometimes, you

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know, people would probably say that I was someone that was

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stifling people taking the actions they wanted to take

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that. I would say that they were, well, I won't say what I

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would say about them here.

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Carrie-Ann Wade: Because like a EastEnders moment, cliffhanger,

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why don't you why not.

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But the risks that they were saying, like hadn't

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gone through the process? Yeah. And I remember some service

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changes that people wanted to take and the driver for the

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service change was multifaceted, but the primary one that was

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pushing certain individuals appetite to just effing do it

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was a financial one. And I had to bring up the other risks in

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if we took this particular approach and how, in the end, I

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managed to kind of get everyone to see sense. And we found a way

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through that helped meet a common purpose that we all had,

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but it was going back to, what is it that we're striving to do

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as an organization? And most importantly, what is it our

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stakeholders will expect of us? And posing that question in

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there, you're right about psychological safety? I did feel

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in that instance, safe enough, or I just didn't care how they

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reacted, because I felt so passionate, which is sometimes

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can can over can top trump the Yeah, the safety element of it.

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But yeah, I think I think it's remembering that purpose

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stakeholder outcome that you're striving for. And

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Carrie-Ann Wade: actually, if you can bring the voice of

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others into that room, sometimes that is hard to argue against.

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So actually, if if the strength of opinion and voice and

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evidence is one way, that individual who might be totally

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set on a different course of action, regardless of the risk

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will find it very difficult to continue without properly having

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a debate and conversation about the evidence that's been, you

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know, put into the space.

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And I think that I just referenced people to the

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difficult conversation episode that we had as a way to think

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about how you might frame feedback to someone who you

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perceive is being too risky or taking undue risk when they

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don't, they don't need to be. And it goes, your evidence was

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the thing that we spoke about a lot in that episode was Yeah,

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yeah, to me. And I suppose my penultimate question is one

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around when you feel that the level of risk that you're

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comfortable with is not aligned with your peers or the board,

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how do you start to navigate that and take people with you?

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And and some of it would probably picked up in the two

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other exams? Yeah, of not risky enough and too risky. But is

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there anything else that you would do in that situation? For

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me,

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Carrie-Ann Wade: it's about how able are you to have that open

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and transparent communication and conversation about that. And

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actually, they would like you've just you've just said it in your

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example, there will sometimes be that point in time where

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actually, that misalignment is maybe because your own values or

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integrity feels like it's being challenged, or you potentially

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don't feel like people have weighed up all of the pros and

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cons of something and done that due diligence. And there might

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just be that point where you do just need to raise your hand and

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flag that in a conversation. So I think your ability to be able

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to say you don't feel comfortable with something and

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then give that explanation as to why you don't feel comfortable

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is really important. But equally, I think that personal

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insight into where might that misalignment be coming from is

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also crucial. Because if that misalignment is coming just

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because it's not in your nature to feel like you want to take a

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risk and it just feels genuinely personally uncomfortable for

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you. That's not always a reason to challenge and not take it it

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might be a reason to challenge yourself and your thinking, but

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actually if that misalignment is coming because you are working

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through the potential consequences for the

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organization, again, my alarm bells are ringing because

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there's a red flag here, because we haven't talked about the

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impact on this group of people on our reputation on our

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finances, whatever it may be. I think that's the point where

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it's the onus is definitely on you, as a leader to bring that

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into the conversation.

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I think and I think the word vulnerability

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came to mind as you were talking, because there's

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something about as a leader being comfortable with showing

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our vulnerabilities. And particularly when it comes to

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big decision making like this, although these might not

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necessarily all be big decisions. But when it comes to

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how different people might feel about taking certain actions or

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inactions or decisions that, you know, showing your vulnerability

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in that space is can be really helpful, important. Put whatever

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word there, you want way to earn trust to people. And that's,

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that's what's key. If you're going to navigate board and peer

Lee Griffith:

discussions and take people with you is trying to find that that

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common sense and connection, isn't it? Yeah, absolutely. So

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to wrap things up, how do you embrace your inner risk taker?

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Carrie-Ann Wade: My top tip would be back to that, ask

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yourself, What's the worst thing that can happen? If I do? Or

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don't do this? Whatever the thing? Is the decision you make

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the action, you're going to take it like just ask yourself that

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question. And as you're answering that question, with

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your feedback from other intelligence sources, as well,

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that I think that will help you to work through whether or not

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you're comfortable taking taking that risk. So that would be my

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sort of starting point. I think for people who may be more risk

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adverse.

Lee Griffith:

I love that, I would say just a practical thing

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that you might want to do to reflect as a reflection exercise

Lee Griffith:

to understand how risk averse or risk, pro risk you are,

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whatever, the opposite. I

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: know, I don't actually know what the opposite

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I say risk adverse a lot. But I'm like, What's the opposite of

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being risk? At risk? To know Yeah, probably red acre Pro,

Lee Griffith:

is to and it's something that I suggest to

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leaders quite often is to keep a bit of a log of decisions that

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you're making during a week or a month. And having that

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reflection piece of like, what was the hope in this? Taking

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this decision? Did I you know, did I go through the steps was I

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did I think through apps out I hate the phrase outside of the

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box. But you know, you can challenge if once you start to

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get clarity in the decisions you're being asked to make,

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there's so much you can do with that as a piece of information

Lee Griffith:

to understand yourself as a leader. And one of them would be

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understanding the types of risks you're being asked to take or

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that you're perhaps suggesting you make love it that is a good

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: and really practical thing that people can

Lee Griffith:

just start doing tomorrow or whenever after they've listened

Lee Griffith:

to this episode. So I really love that one. I might well do

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it myself. Actually.

Lee Griffith:

I think you should. Anyway, it's lovely to

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talk to you on this topic. Thank you to everyone that's watched

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or listened and head over to substack for some fun, Yes, last

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day. Yeah. I don't know what they are yet. But But there'll

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be there by time this is published. And yeah, a comment

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we'd love to do to get involved in this discussion. So let us

Lee Griffith:

know what you think about risk. Let us know how risky you think

Lee Griffith:

your organisation's and leaders in your organisation are. Let us

Lee Griffith:

know what you do to step into your inner risk taker. Yeah.

Lee Griffith:

Anyway, till next week. Thanks for listening. Don't forget to

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hit follow to make sure you get the next episode. And if today's

Lee Griffith:

discussion resonated, please leave a review on Apple

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podcasts.

Lee Griffith:

Carrie-Ann Wade: We also have our substack community where you

Lee Griffith:

can get behind the scenes info, Ask Us Anything session and

Lee Griffith:

build your network of like minded leaders. Visit how to

Lee Griffith:

take the lead.substack.com To find out more. And if you want

Lee Griffith:

to work with us to challenge and change leadership in your

Lee Griffith:

organization. Get in touch by dropping us an email how to take

Lee Griffith:

the lead@gmail.com or DM us on the socials. Until next week.

Lee Griffith:

Get out there and take the leap