Smart risk takers consistently do five things well to derisk whatever they’re up to:
- Find something worth fighting for. It is what all smart risks have in common. It must be simple, stir emotion, lend itself to a story or narrative, and inspire action.
- See the future now. Ask questions, understand concerns, test the concept behind your ideas, and predict as many fail points in advance that you can. Have an open, honest conversation with trusted people around you to determine what is the worst that could really happen.
- Act fast, learn fast. Start before you know where to start, fail early, often, and smart—build learning into everything, and stay humble. Accept that you have to live with failure—since it is an inevitable by-product of taking risks, even smart risks. Failing smart is the best way to learn.
- Communicate powerfully. Expect communication to break down and plan accordingly. Share thought processes, meet regularly, and don’t avoid difficult conversations.
- Create a smart-risk culture. Define a smart failure—the acceptable boundaries within which it is okay to fail. Reward both the successes and these smart failures.