Is the “Safe Choice” Really Safe?

A colleague of mine once wrote about the appointment of a new CEO, saying “This was a highly conservative and safe choice.

The comment struck me. Choosing “conservative” and “safe” options may seem to be the right path. Who wants to invite undue risk?

But sometimes the “safe choice” isn’t nearly as secure as you might expect. Here’s why seeking safety today can hurt your business in the long run:

  • Sticking to the status quo ensures you’ll be left behind by those who aren’t afraid to proceed onward.
  • Staying in your comfort zone means you’ll keep doing what seems to work. Until it doesn’t.
  • Relying on tradition can leave you hanging onto outmoded ideas while someone else is thinking bigger.

Think about the “safe choices” you make every day. Could you approach them in a different way?

What if safety is exactly what you should avoid?

I’m not suggesting you make reckless decisions. Instead, try embracing a carefully considered risk. (Thing of the difference between jumping off a bridge and bungee jumping. Both will give a you a thrill, but only one ends well.)

When you’re building a business, the “safe choice” is rarely safe. It’s a decision made from a position of fear, not strength:

  • Leaders who worry that change will be difficult pick the safe route to avoid disruption.
  • Entrepreneurs cling to safe choices when they don’t want to let go of what they know.
  • Employees who fear retribution if things don’t go well make safe decisions that lead to missed opportunities.
  • Buyers choose the safe option to reduce perceived risk, foregoing the rewards of improved technology.

Growth requires risk.

Safety feels good in the moment but in the end, playing it too safe can kill your business.

  • Safety is the enemy of innovation.
  • Safety is the enemy of progress.
  • Safety is the enemy of growth.

Do you really want to be safe?

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