Risk tolerant?

In his book The Growth Dilemma, Ami Kassar has a series of questions to evaluate how risk tolerant you are in your business. If he gave you $1 million, would you invest it in your company or put it in mutual funds? Where is your company is in its life cycle and where you are in yours?

It reminds me of the questions asked in Traction by Gino Wickman: Do you want it? Do you get it? Can you do it? And the questions in The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni: Are you humble, hungry and smart? Asking really challenging questions and teasing out the answers gives up new insights into what is working and not working in us and our businesses.

In Kassar’s book, there are no right or wrong answers. The point is to be really clear about who you are and how you tick before you go out and get money. Don’t get the wrong kind of money for your risk tolerance. Or for the place in the life cycle-your or the company’s.

We don’t often sit down and assess ourselves and our businesses in this manner.

If I look at Vistage companies and other businesses in the middle market, I’m seeing some companies that are set for high growth but their management team isn’t. Other companies are not ready to scale but the leader is going for it without the right infrastructure to take them there.

What Kassar recommends is careful assessment of the fit.  It really tests those 1 year, 3 year and 10 year goals created in strategic planning sessions. The team throws nice stuff up on the board. Why is it that 3 years later, the goal hasn’t changed much? My guess is that the level of risk tolerance in the senior team may play a bigger part than previously suspected. Or, the pieces required to scale were not carefully put in place.

If you aren’t making your plan, this week look at your tolerance for risk and what is bottlenecking your ability to scale. My guess is you will see your business and yourself in a new light.

image courtesy of www.seawatersports.com

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