Taking Risks to Boost Your Career


The phrase “get out of your comfort zone” is always uttered when you’re being motivated to do better in life. It’s the same with dealing with phobias. For someone who’s afraid of heights to deal with his fear, he is slowly being subjected to increasing heights so as to desensitize him. The point is to get out of your comfort zone so you could grow. So if you’re too comfortable with the direction your career is going, perhaps you may not be taking enough risks.

Why would you need to take a risk if everything’s all set for you? To that, you should ask another question. Are you truly happy with your career that you feel you have reached the highest you can go or are you just settling for a stressful job that pays well? If it’s the latter, then you may find a lot of other opportunities if you take risks.

Risks need not be huge ones. It’s as simple as volunteering for a presentation when you have a fear of speaking in public. It’s as small as striking up a conversation with the big boss of the company if you find yourself alone with him in the smoking area. Again, the core idea is to get out of your comfort zone. By handling a presentation, you not only get over your fear of talking in front of an audience, you get to add public speaking to your repertoire.

The bigger risks to take often involve leaving your current position or company and, again, outside of your comfort zone. For instance, if you hold a higher-tier position in the IT department, you can try your luck at being in sales where you can have the chance to reap good commission. You may also take a crack at a trainer position if you have developed a knack for public speaking from all those presentations.

Finally, there’s also taking a risk with another company. If you have gotten too comfortable with your current standing in your company and would like to experience something fresh, you can apply for a good position in another and expand your skill set.

Do note that there’s a difference between taking risks for your career and gambling it away. Jumping blindly into a situation you don’t understand is never a good idea. Your career is on the line here, so take risks only if you understand the rewards and the possible pitfalls you may encounter.

Was the Dardanelles Campaign Nothing But a Failure, and Are There Lessons For Us All Today?


By as early as the beginning of 1915 Winston Churchill, The First Lord of the Admiralty, was appalled at the way the War was going, at the apparent stalemate in the trenches on the Western Front and at the acknowledgement that it was becoming a war of attrition. He was frustrated that nobody seemed to have a plan for a breakthrough to achieve an early victory. He devised the plan for a campaign in the Dardanelles as a possible solution. The aim was to capture Constantinople from Germany’s ally the Turkish Empire, and draw a lot of the efforts of our enemies away from the Western Font, or from the Russian Front, or even both.

The Result.

The campaign went on for many months, resulting in a very high loss of life, and was ultimately unsuccessful. Churchill was blamed for proposing the plan in the first place, for many of the specific mistakes, and for continuing with it once it had become obvious to almost everyone else that it was not working, although some people believe it was a good plan but not carried out very well. This failure led to hid becoming extremely unpopular, and was one factor in his being dropped from the Government for over a year.

Different historians have different views as to the main reasons for this failure. The list includes:

· Poor planning,

· Underestimating the problems,

· Beginning too soon, before everything was ready,

· Giving the enemy time to get reinforcements and strengthen the defences,

· Lack of commitment by some of the commanders,

· Poor communication between the Army and Navy,

It is thought of as a good example of “How Not to Do It”.

The What If..

There has been far less discussion of what might have been, if it had succeeded. Now I know that whenever you say “if only” someone says you need to forget that and concentrate on dealing with things as they are, and usually that is good advice, but just for once I would like us to dwell on “if only” a little. Think about the effects on the World if:

· The War had ended two years earlier than it did.

· Britain had not been taken to the edge of starvation.

· Germany had not been devastated. (Would the Kaiser have survived?)

· Russia had not endured such losses – would the Revolution have happened?

· America had not needed to join the War.

· Women had not been needed to work in factories.

One thing is almost certain. Both Churchill and Prime Minister Asquith would have been a lot more popular. Would Lloyd George have become Prime Minister?

Was It Just a Gamble?

You could say that Churchill took a gamble and lost. But that is not quite fair. There were risks in not doing anything, but allowing the war of attrition to continue. The difference between gambling and Risk Management is that in gambling no risk exists unless you choose to accept it. Risk Management attempts to manage those risks which already exist. I am unaffected by the outcome of the Derby, the Grand National, the F.A. Cup, the Test Match, or the Boat Race, unless I choose to place a bet, whereas the risks in my business are there whether I like it or not. I remember a cartoon in one of the daily papers back in the 1970′s. It showed two businessmen passing a news-stand. There were two posters beside it. One read “Ali to fight Frazier” whilst the other read “Heath to fight inflation”. One of the businessmen comments “at least with Ali and Frazier we can choose which one to back.” He obviously recognised that we all had a vested interest in the battle with inflation. Doing nothing is not necessarily the safe option. Some businesses have gone out of business because they failed to take a chance.

Making the Case for Sustainability


The case for sustainability and business innovation.

Business sustainability has become a new mantra for many organizations, big and small as well as a new “normal” for the innovation and profitability. For this reason the increased talk at the C-Level of many organizations is geared towards how the business can make its case in organizations with non-sustainable products and processes.

The question from most employees is “How do we present the case for sustainability to management in such a way that they reason with a holistic mindset of the long term business impact “? These are some basic steps to follow:

1. Establish a sense of urgency-

- Perception, profitability, and prosperity are keys to getting management listen to your case of sustainability.

- Analyze the current status against future implications of the products, market (both current and emerging), risks and the expectations of the stakeholders.

- Explain the benefits of action and the consequences of non-action.

2. The next course of action would be to create a coalition to guide the implementation of sustainable practices-

- Educate management used fact based methods for example, use data from companies within your industry that have adopted sustainability in their business and changes in its operations and profitability.

- Include top management influencers within the decision making team of the organization.

- Use existing employees who have started incorporating sustainable practices within their work group.

- Utilize subject matter experts to make the case for sustainability.

3. Develop a vision and strategy

- The vision here is towards a bigger purpose for the organization with particular focus on the long- term gains as well as the short-term fixes.

- Then, size the opportunities for the organization

- After which comes the outline of the risks

- Project impact on business model, product portfolio, brand and business value

4. Empower broad- based action

- Outline the organizational set up because sustainability brings with it new organizational structures and roles.

- Identify new skills needed to effectively sustain new processes and the practices

- Identify the financial needs such as budget and mergers and acquisition as needed

- Outline milestone and targets which should be tangible measureable units against the baseline prior to the implementation of sustainability

- And of course, communicate the plan to all involved and also to the broader organization so they all know the why, when, and how the project is going to be implemented.

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