Are you ready for risk?


Are you ready for risk?

By Anthony Walley, The CONFIDANT Group

Doing business in Africa can be a risky prospect for even the most conservative company. Rising unemployment and falling commodity prices mean profits are harder to come by with every passing year.

So it makes sense that many of the CEO’s we work with are adopting aggressive growth strategies to stay competitive. However, while this may be a viable option for some, mere planning for aggressive growth is not a guarantor of success – people will be required to implement the plan and achieve the goal.

As a CEO, it is up to you to determine if your company is even suited to an aggressive strategy in the first place. Is your leadership team capable of taking the calculated risks that aggressive growth implies? Are the individuals in the team even suited to their existing portfolios? And if not, what does it mean for your company’s future?

Answering these questions gives you the scientific data you need to make a more informed decision either way. You may well find you’re working with individuals less inclined to take risks, in which case an aggressive growth strategy may not be your best course of action. Then again your team may be full of impatient risk-takers perfectly suited to meet the challenges of aggressive growth head-on, and not feeding their appetite for stretching their capabilities may in itself be a huge risk for your organization.

More likely you’ll find your people share a mix of personality and skill traits, and that your ultimate strategy will mix aggression and restraint in different measure. Some will be dominant and impulsive, with a high degree of risk tolerance, while others will be risk averse, patient and considered in their actions and outlook, better suited to protecting rather than aggressively growing your revenue base.

Armed with this knowledge you’ll have a good understanding of the relationship between your company’s place in the market and the profile and personalities of its people. As the head of a new, up-and-coming competitor, you may lean toward building a team of risk takers to win market share from more established competitors. As an established company you may be more conservative in your outlook and more defensive in your strategy, aptly reflected in your executive profiles.

There’s no right or wrong, just what works best for you. If you’ve set your mind on aggressive growth, as so many companies are inclined to do in this market, knowing your people means knowing if you’re ready for the risks they’ll be taking to implement your strategy and vision.



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