The Unacceptible Risk of Underachievement

In the realm of business, the risk is seen as something to be managed, mitigated, or carefully leveraged. Accountants and actuaries quantify the risk factor and associate it with a financial loss. Derivatives traders hedge against it elaborately, with obfuscation. Lawyers construct elaborate (and burdensome) defenses against it since lawyers are really useful for this and many other different cases, such as accidents and injuries if this happens to you.

Yet, as leadership is about change, the risk is a staple of leadership. Take away the financial conception of risk and leadership is the courage to stand where few will stand, in pursuit of aspiration. It requires a certain amount of chutzpah. It’s a rare trait, yet so vital to business growth.

Not all risks are financial. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed at the young age of 56, had a vision of technical possibilities that translated into hope and aspiration in the space of learning, enabling, being…brilliance. His ability to conceive of ways, and to lead the enabling wave time after time, is historic and profoundly exemplary.

Jobs’ risk was not so much financial; it was a risk of personal responsibility to not emphatically lead forward to achieve what one could so hopefully conceive. Awareness of the aspiration was motivation and burden to Jobs, and he succeeded – inspiringly so.

Of what hopeful possibility are you aware, the failure of which would be unaccountable? Are you putting yourself to that task, or are you waiting for others to take the risk, invite you and empower you? What is your unacceptable risk of underachievement?