221 - When Trying Too Hard To Avoid Risk Backfires - John Laurito

221 – When Trying Too Hard To Avoid Risk Backfires

Some people like to take risks—even big ones—while others don’t. In this episode, host John Laurito talks about why being too cautious is not always good. In business and life, focusing too much on the risks that your actions might sometimes have not only takes away the fun in the experience but may also cost you too much or further bring you into what you were trying to avoid in the first place. So, just think about it, weigh things out, and decide whether you’re doing it or not.

[0:00] Intro

[0:57] Offroading with John

[3:02] Why it’s not always best to avoid risks too much

[5:31] Think about it…

[11:05] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership. Obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito, and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leader so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! 

John All right. Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself, and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host today on December 3rd, 2021. It is 71 degrees outside. This is why I moved down to Holly Springs, North Carolina. No offense to my compadres up in Boston. I love Boston, but I don’t love the weather this time of year. But I’m here in shorts. I actually get to figure out how to do these podcasts outdoors. Move my studio outside to fully enjoy this weather. It is unbelievable. 

John So recently I got a chance to do something really cool that I don’t know how many of you have ever done, but I got a chance to do off-roading. And I’m not talking about off-roading on a bike. I’m talking about in a truck. So I was with my brother-in-law Jeff, my nephew Gavin, and my son Nick, and we were in Jeff’s truck, which is a beast of a vehicle. And we did off-roading, and I got to tell you it was awesome. It was so much fun. There’s this relatively small off-roading track right near the gym that we go to in Cary, North Carolina. And I had not been on it before. Jeff had gone out, I think once or twice, Gavin had been on it once before, and so I did a little run with Jeff. And then we brought the boys there and did it with four of us in the vehicle and it was a blast. It was so much fun. It was cool. 

John What was interesting at one point, Jeff was driving and he was going and kind of maneuvering over this part of the terrain, part of the course. And he said he was trying to drive a little slower and more carefully because he didn’t want to scratch his truck. He made that comment he said don’t want to scratch my vehicle, which I get it. I wouldn’t either. But his son, Gavin, said something from the back. He said, Dad, you can’t have it both ways. In other words, you’re either off-roading or you’re not. If you’re off-roading, then your car is probably going to get scratched up a little bit. You’ve got to have the willingness to accept that fact. Otherwise, you’re really not off-roading and you’re just kind of going slowly through this terrain very carefully. That’s not off-roading. That’s not the full experience of off-roading. Jeff was like, Yeah, you know what? That’s right. And I’m like, Wow, that’s great. I’m going to make a podcast out of this, as I do a lot of time. 

John So I have my phone and anytime something happens or I get a story that comes to mind or whatever that I think can be a great podcast. That’s what I do. So, Gavin Draper, this credit goes to you because I love that statement there. And it is so true if you think about it. Here’s the thing that we do all the time in life and we do it in business is oftentimes we are so focused on trying to avoid the risk that we totally change what it is that we’re doing. And ultimately we take away the full benefit of what we’re trying to do. We hurt ourselves and we end up causing more harm than we had intended, that we were trying to avoid. And the case with this, now this is fun. This is off-roading. But it is true. If you are too careful about trying to make sure you’re caring for the truck, you’re changing the whole experience of off-roading, because half the fun is going kind of a little recklessly through these courses, making turns vast and all kinds of stuff, it is a blast. But if you’re inching along and you’re trying too hard to avoid the, you know, sticks and twigs and trees and stuff like that, they’re sticking out from the side. It just changes the whole experience. 

John And I think about this, you know, I was mountain biking and I remember this going down mountain biking down a hill, and I remember trying to go slower and extra slow because it was pretty, uh, you know, loose gravel and terrain. And I’m thinking, OK, I just don’t. I had recently wiped out of my garage and I want to wipe out. But the very fact is me going slower actually made it harder. It actually made it very hard to control. In fact, what I realized is the faster I went, actually, strangely, the easier was to control and stay on track. So my point is with many things that we do think about, if you were on a bike and you’re just trying to go over, you’re trying to cross a little ravine and you’ve got a small like, you know, 12-inch piece of wood and that’s your plank, so to speak. That’s your bridge that you’re going over. There’s no railings on this and you’re driving your bike over. Now, if you went too slowly and you’re riding the bike too slowly, you are going to fall off. There’s no way you can stay on that narrow of a path. You have to go pretty fast because that’s how you’re going to have the most control. So if you’re too worried about falling off and you’re going slow to try and avoid that risk, you’re actually bringing into play that risk even more so. 

John And again, the reason I’m bringing this up is – think about this with everything you do. I see people that are in relationships that they’re potentially trying to get out of, and they’re trying so hard not to create pain or discomfort that they create added pain or discomfort. And I’ve been there, believe me in my past with different relationships. Everybody has, it might have been even a work situation where you’re trying to close down a project and you realize, you know what? It’s just not working and you still try to eke out everything you can because you’re trying to minimize the downside and at least try and get back some of the money we had invested in this. But the reality is, the more we keep going, even though we might make a little bit of the money back, we’re still costing immense amounts of effort, loss, stress, anxiety, ripple effect that we take away from other projects, time and effort, money, whatever the case may be. So it ends up costing more damage in the big picture in the long run. 

John So think about that a lot with the things that you do when you’re trying to avoid the downside, you have to just simply say, am I willing to accept the costs of what it is? I’m doing? So if I’m doing off-roading, OK, if I’m doing it right, there’s a fair chance that I may scratch the car, the truck. Am I okay with that? If I’m not OK with that, then I probably shouldn’t be off-roading. If I am OK with that. Great. Then I’m going to accept the fact that that might be a consequence of doing off riding and doing off-roading and doing it the right way. In which case, you know what? I’m going to just not worry about it. I’m going to have fun and the experience is going to be better. And guess what? You might not even scratch the vehicle. 

John So again, think about this with everything that you do if we’re, you know, too cautious and we’re treading too slowly and leaders, you see this yourself, but you see this with other people on your team. When you see people that are overly cautious, you know, I’ve got a process that I’m putting in place that will help streamline and help us execute or deliver faster. But I’m now taking more time at each step to double triple quadruple check, and it’s ultimately me trying to avoid a mistake is actually costing more in the long run in time. It may not be worth it to do that. Do it that way. Just view things that you’re doing a little bit differently and realize you can’t have it both ways. Just as Gavin said, you can’t off-road and at the same time, assure yourself that you’re not going to get a scratch on the vehicle. 

John When I’m taking a chance with somebody and hiring somebody, and I’ve always been on the belief hire slowly, fire quickly when you are hiring somebody. There may be. There’s always going to be some unknowns. If I take too long to hire somebody because I am trying to do such heavy due diligence, the risk I may run is I may lose that person. I’ve lost a lot of candidates. I’ve lost a lot of great talent because I took too long to get to an offer stage with somebody because I was trying to avoid a mistake. I ended up not even getting the opportunity to have that person be part of the team. There’s another great example on the other end. If I know somebody, I need to let somebody go, but I just want to do it smoother or easier for whatever reason. I’m just not willing or able to pull that trigger as quickly as I need to. One, I’m really doing a disservice to that person now. I get it legally and from an H.R. standpoint, sometimes we need to take our time and go through a process. But if I’m artificially or unnecessarily elongating that, I’m not doing it and it’s simply because of pain avoidance. And I just feel bad doing this or the time of the year is wrong or this and that. Then ultimately I’m causing that person more pain. I’m causing the organization more pain. I’m causing more work and pain for other people. And I might end up losing the right candidate who could be coming in to fill that position because I’m dragging this out so long. 

John So again, just think about the concept, everything that you’re doing, are you moving too slowly because you’re trying to avoid risks that if you do this right, it’s just part of the game. You’re going to have to accept that I will never be able to know 100 percent everything I want to know about a candidate that I’m hiring. I wish I could. I wish I could read their mind and know exactly what I’m getting. But there’s an element of chance there. I just don’t know what’s impossible. I’ve got to do everything I can to do great due diligence, and there’s some smart things I can do to really make sure I’m getting an accurate picture on this person, but there’s still parts of this picture in this person that I am not going to get. So I’ve got to do my best to piece together what I have to make a fully accurate picture and a decision on that person. 

John So in any event, quick story, quick point. Hope it was helpful on, again, this beautiful Friday afternoon. I hope if you’re listening to this, which will probably go out tomorrow, hopefully you’re enjoying the weekend because again, it’s going to be a nice one. Even if you are in Boston. I know Boston’s having great weather as well. So, I love Decembers where you can wear shorts. Awesome. As always, I appreciate you listening and tuning in. Like, subscribe, share. Always give me feedback and ideas on topics or guests that you think would be great for this show. Go down below and give a five-star review and I will see you next time. Thanks. 

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching. Reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks. Lead on. 

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