There comes a point in every project or change initiative where you have to take a risk. As we continue the acrostic DREAMS we will consider M for managing risks.
A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to take an 83-year-old grandma down the river, my oldest crew member to date.
It was a family reunion and I was talking with the matriarch of the clan. She was the most energetic 83-year old I've ever met.
She told me "now I don't want you going conservative on me".
"I want to hit the BIG stuff!"
And after talking a bit we agreed that she would sit on a thwart and hang on to two handles that I added and the rest of the family would paddle. I promised we would hit the big stuff.
And, everyone had a great time!
1. Embrace the adventure.
I’ve never had anyone go rafting with me that wanted to die on the trip. What they want is to experience camaraderie, fun, and adventure. They also want to come back alive to tell the story. As a result, guide trainees spend hundreds of hours on the river in training getting experience. We put them through drills and all the scenarios that we can think of so that they are prepared and can immediately respond to any incident that might occur.
While there is risk associated with change, the results can be rewarding. It is important to have the right people involved and to test rigorously before going live with a change. A contingency plan should be set in place in case things don’t go as planned.
If everyone sees change as an adventure it can be exciting and fun.
2, Make adjustments as needed.
It’s ok to make changes along the way. I realize most project managers are paranoid about scope creep but sometimes it just makes sense to add, delete or change something to deliver the expected results.
3. Go for it!
Once you have done due diligence, you have tested everything, you have addressed every known issue or concern it is time to move forward.
I worked with one team that was paralyzed by fear of going live. It was a major software development project and the prior 7 attempts had failed to make it to implementation. It was hard to believe that a vendor finally delivered a product that appeared to work. But the team kept finding a few minor bugs. That would require a full testing sequence of another 2 weeks or more. This happened month after month until the executive sponsor finally asked why they couldn’t just go live and fix the minor bugs on the way. He found out it was because they thought the President required perfection. In order to get everyone to sign off, the President called a meeting with the project team and told them that he was very proud of them and their accomplishment to date. He also said that it is inevitable that we will experience some glitches but that he was 100% behind them and ready to support them in any way he could. The software was launched the next week and the change ended up being successful.
Perhaps you are in a project where you are trying to manage the risks and don't feel like embracing adventure at the moment. I'd love to hear about what is going on and provide some guidance at no cost out of your pocket. Just schedule a time with me at chatwithdwight.com
Next time we will finish the acrostic with the letter DREAMS - Solve Problems.
Dwight Grant is a seasoned businessman with over 30 years of leadership experience. He lives in CO where he enjoys whitewater rafting, mountain biking and spending time with family.