HBR – 4 Assumptions About Risk You Shouldn’t Be Making

Are you being honest with yourself and your company about risk? If doing nothing leads to decline, projects with marginal projections actually are better alternatives than inaction.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” The line is instantly recognizable as the conclusion of “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. And, the misunderstood poem helps to highlight how innovation-seeking executives need to reframe the word risk.

Most readers assume Frost’s poem is hopeful, describing the value of the rugged individualism that has long served as an American hallmark. However, a measured reading shows a wistful tone that borders on regret (“I shall be telling this with a sigh”), with critics arguing that the poem’s key message is how we rationalize bad decisions after the fact.

Similarly, when the word risk comes out of an executive’s mouth, it’s usually accompanied by one of four mistakes:

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Scott Anthony

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