Risk-taking is very scary to many people because of the potential for loss. However, I understand the importance of risk-taking in regards to the success of any project. In my opinion, risk taking is a crucial element of leadership and critical for ensuring successful projects. As Pilcher (2009) contends, if you take a risk, there is a probability that you will fail, but if you fail to take any risk, you will definitely fail. Since risk-taking involves exercising, I believe that the more a project manager exercises, the stronger he gets; and the stronger he gets, the more comfortable he or she becomes exercising. For this reason, risk-taking enables one to enter into a cycle where a sense of self confidence and power continuously expand (Adubato, 2012). In order to feel more comfortable with taking risks, one has to learn how to handle fear. This includes fear of failure, fear of seeming ignorant, fear of success, fear of seeming too aggressive and fear of looking like a fool. This can only be achieved if we move out of comfort zones that give us a sense of safety and security and move into a learning zone (Damodaran, 2007).
The discourse above is a clear indication that the degree to which a project can take risk is not dependent on the project environment and organizational culture whatsoever. This, however, does not mean going ahead with a project without thinking about the impact it will have on the project environment and organizational culture. Playing it safe and taking baby steps towards meeting a project’s objectives should be observed (Heath, 2009).
Treasurer (2003) believes that in some cases, project managers have no option but to take risk. For example, a project manager may have no option but to take a risk when it comes to allocating scarce resources. In such cases, project managers have no option but to contend with the fact that the probability of success is miniature and difficult to quantify (Treasurer, 2003). In 2005, my friend was working as the assistant general manager in a renowned company in this country. In this job, he used to meet the big shots in the corporate world and would take home a huge pay every month. To my surprise, he resigned from that high profile job to start his own company, which was his childhood dream. I thought that my friend had gone nuts because he incurred numerous losses in the initial years of operation. I must admit that I am proud of him because he is the current C.E.O of a leading multinational company in this country. I admire him because it is as a result of the risk that he took back then that he is what he is today.