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Leaders say they’ll take more risks in the credit crunch


People’s appetite for risk-taking in the workplace is likely to increase if the economy continues to spiral downwards, according to research released today by leadership development organisation Common Purpose.

Over half of all working adults surveyed already consider themselves to be risk-takers and 43% think it will be important to take more risks to help their organisation survive through a recession.

It also found that only 13% of people avoid risk at all costs in their jobs. Common Purpose added that taking calculated risks is very different to acting rashly, that risk is an inseparable part of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Through their programmes, Common Purpose says it has found that senior managers from the private, public and voluntary sectors can effectively come together to use the diversity of their backgrounds and experiences and listen to each other’s ideas to avoid pitfalls and to inform their understanding of risk.

In today’s complex and rapidly shifting context, it seems that being paralysed by fear into inaction is the biggest risk of all.

As Julia Middleton, chief executive of Common Purpose says: “An economic downturn is not the time to shy away from risks. Leaders need to be brave and bold, and to look in new places to capture the opportunities for growth and innovation. Looking into other people’s worlds is a good place to start.”

Common Purpose offers these tips for taking risks during a recession:

·Be brave. Taking a step into the unknown, within or beyond your existing role, takes courage - courage to start and courage to continue.

·Taking risks is not as simple as jumping over a hedge without looking first. It involves building an understanding of the issues, challenges, risks and the other stakeholders involved.

·Don’t focus on your area of specialism to the exclusion of all else. Losing sight of the broader context leaves you open to being blind-sided.

·Build a diverse network of people and use them to help you formulate your plans - their different views and experiences may enable you to see things in a new light.

·Keep an eye on the medium and long-term as well as short term fixes: Don’t destroy tomorrow’s value today.


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