What are you like with taking a risk?

Risk is a part of our everyday life, and when you think about it, we engage in some form of risk-taking every day.

Even during this pandemic, we are taking a risk just stepping out of our homes. Life is full of risk; it is how you manage it.

Dr Ben Carson, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon, wrote a fantastic book called Take the Risk. He was the neurosurgeon involved in many operations which called for a serious level of risk assessment.

He recounted the successful separation of Joseph and Luka Banda, co-joined at the back of the head in 1997, and the first-ever attempt to separate the adult craniopagus Bijani twins. They, at the age of 29, wanted to be separated. After 50 hours, the operation failed as they died within 90 mins of each other.

Dr Carson developed a Best/Worst Analysis (B/WA) process for deciding whether to proceed with an operation or not. Can you imagine a greater dilemma?

I have used this method in my personal and business life and demonstrated it in several strategic planning workshops. Its pragmatic simplicity hides its effectiveness as it works in many situations.

Here are the four questions to ask when you have a decision to make:

What is the best thing that can happen if I do this?
What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?
What is the best thing that can happen if I don’t do this?
What the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do this?
Thinking through these questions can help to crystallize your thinking and plan a way forward.

You may still need to think about the steps required to mitigate the worst possible outcome, but this is a great place to start. Admittedly, there are many decision-making models, but this is simple yet effective.

Until we meet.