Finding Balance When Taking Risks

What is holding you back from taking risks as a leader?

Summary
Transcript

Mark Lutz, pastor of growth and healing at Vineyard Cincinnati, has led and been led by two types of leaders—those who take risks and those who have no fear of risk. In this video, he explains that there is risk involved with both types of leadership.

“By being so risk averse, the work I'm doing can stagnate," says Mark. "I can get left behind, there can be a shift in the culture, and I don't keep up, and I'm no longer relevant.” On the flip side, those who don’t have a healthy fear of risk can end up making great errors. “I would watch that and I would see that there was sometimes wasted energy, that there was sometimes no return on investment, that there were sometimes bodies left in our wake,” he says.

What kind of leader are you? Are you taking risks appropriately or are you risk averse?

I've noticed this intersection of leadership and risk taking. And there's a continuum of risk taking, comfort with risk taking. And my personality is definitely risk averse. I don't like taking risks and I'm aware of the quality of a thing and I don't want to jeopardize the quality by taking a big risk. And I'm aware of the people toll and I don't want to cause any damage to people so I minimize risk. But the deal is by being so risk averse, the work I'm doing can stagnate. I can get left behind, there can be a shift in the culture, and I don't keep up, and I'm no longer relevant.

To the other side, I have watched and been led by leaders that terrified me because they seem to have no fear of risk. And I would watch that and I would see that there was sometimes wasted energy, that there was sometimes no return on investment, that there were sometimes bodies left in our wake. And I would see that and I would say, "That's terrible." But I would also see where some of these folks who weren't afraid of risks would have breakthroughs and would innovate and do things that no one else thought possible.

And I almost wonder if there has to be, for some of those pioneering leaders, a level of grandiosity that says, "I can do anything." For myself and my risk averse friends, we'd say, "Well, how arrogant of you?" And yet they start things that we would never start and we are better off for the things that they've brought to us. I think what I'm hoping for is as I mature as a leader is that I'll be able to strike a balance between the two. That I'll take a little more risk than I'm comfortable with. And in doing so, I might see greater results than I really thought was possible while still measuring, "What would the human cost to this be?" and being mindful of that to say, "Well, if I do reach this objective, will it be worth that? And can minimize unnecessary hardship on people?" And I think if I strike a balance, that would be the ultimate for me and whatever organization I'm leading.
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Mark Lutz

Mark Lutz prepared for ministry at Cincinnati Christian University and studied counseling at Xavier University. First working for a Christian counseling center in Cincinnati, Mark learned how to integrate faith into clinical helping. ...

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