You’ve done it. You’ve successfully completed the Risk Type Compass assessment and found out where you are positioned within the Compass. After a brief IM conversation with your team about their RTC location, what comes next?  

Understanding your Risk Type – a new perspective to self-awareness

Decision-making styles vary considerably from person to person and prove to be one of our most defining and consequential characteristics. Risk Type influences the way we plan holidays, manage our finances, cross roads and choose recreational activities. Being aware of one’s decision-making style, it’s strengths and limitations, enables us to take personal responsibility for the quality of our decisions and shine a light on our unique biases. Self-awareness and understanding enable us to manage our approach, to:

1.       Make decisions that play to our strengths

2.       Know when to seek the opinions of those who take a different stance

3.       Work on the areas which don’t come naturally and rebalance our decision making

Team cohesion and empathy

A healthy decision-making team benefits from a diversity of viewpoints. Positivity and optimism may fuel unwarranted overconfidence. Caution and pessimism risk making group decisions unduly risk averse. And neither may reflect the opinions of the Carefree, Deliberate or Excitable Risk Types – but all have a contribution to make. A diverse team in which mutual respect ensures everyone has a voice is more likely to be effective. A balanced, inclusive and respectful decision-making dynamic facilitates the team in:

1.       Being alert to the pitfalls of impulsive, inconsistent, inflexible, or overcautious tendencies

2.       Tuning in to complementary or conflicting aspects of the risk dispositions around you

3.       Encouraging greater awareness of team dynamics, cohesion, and effectiveness

4.       Maximising the team’s talents and continuously building its resilience

Cognitive diversity avoids groupthink

The extreme variability amongst individual risk dispositions is easily masked by the courtesies, social skills and unquestioning interpersonal tolerance. These niceties may ‘bottle’ resentment and potentially drive conflicting views underground. In such an environment the benefits of diversity are ‘managed’ rather than ‘exploited’ to fuel an effective and fully risk aware style of decision making. Contrived agreement within a team may be comfortable and seem reassuring but doesn’t ‘stress test’ ideas, or capture the creative energy of diverse minds hammering out carefully constructed decisions.

(Read more about cognitive diversity in the boardroom).

Adopting a personality-based Risk Type language for development and coaching

A Risk Type approach to coaching aims to develop the self-awareness necessary to allow us to take personal responsibility – managing the risk-related aspects of our personality to the greatest effect. Adopting this ‘Risk Type Taxonomy’ provides a coherent intuitive language that facilitates constructive and respectful dialogue between team members.

Coaching aims for each Risk Type will be very different. Every Risk Type has both advantages and disadvantages. No one Risk Type, or individual, ‘has it all’. Like the specialist roles of members of a sports team; the diversity of talent combines most effectively when they share a common goal, support each other and ‘play for the team’. To maximise their effectiveness, every team member has to know their strengths and their limitations and to respect the talents that other participants bring with them.

Support for organisational change strategy

Given the uncertainty that characterises this fast-changing world, continuing success and survival are not to be secured by any ‘business as usual’ approach. Successful management of change is the biggest challenge faced by any organisation, any enterprise. Change and innovation are essential to keep organisations on a positive trajectory. Leadership strategy and policy implementation needs to be in touch with the challenges and stresses faced by the employees that will be required to deliver. Effective change depends upon employee trust and engagement to avoid the ‘flight’ of staff and loss of talent triggered by uncertainty and its associated insecurities.

Our research into Risk Type and resistance to change offers insight into the challenges ahead. The Risk Landscape locates and maps the prevalence of Risk Types within the team structure of departments, divisions or entire organisations. Anticipating where possible resistance is most likely and managing this effectively will protect employee wellbeing and support business initiatives.

 This same research has demonstrated that the Risk Types that fall towards the top of the compass are significantly more likely to be resistant to change. Being more risk-averse on both RTC dimensions, feelings of uncertainty and of lack of control can knock them off balance, meaning that they fear risk and the prospect of the unknown.

Understanding the risk personality of employees helps organisations to navigate, and innovate, through today’s climate of unprecedented disruption. Whether as individuals, teams or organisations – the high resolution of the Risk Type Compass assessment can create a perspective that steers organisations through the decisions they face at many levels – enabling them to recognise and maximise on the insights of their teams, their committees and their board.

And as Michael Mazaar, Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, quotes ‘Risk failures are mostly attributable to human factors’.

If you’d like to discuss the many ways the Risk Type Compass can support your workplace, or for details of our consultancy services, please get in touch!