The HR Juggler

Day 33: Risk and Reward

Posted on: January 2, 2013

33 v3

Today’s post is written by someone who has become rather special to me; for encouraging, commenting, noticing what others might not, but above all, for being a critical friend, which is a rare find indeed. So, to Anthony Allinson (@allinsona) who by now will be blushing furiously, thank you very much.


2012 wasn’t a year of totally unalloyed joy and success, but if I mixed all of the good, the bad and the banal up, it would be beige, long and a little pointless. To keep it brief I’ve teased out one of several positive threads. Here goes…

In 2012 I took risks and went for it. That is something I encourage others to do, but sometimes fail to do myself.

I may be being unfair to myself. I do have a, “List of Impossible Things”. You know, the things we’ve tried before but which didn’t work. I take great and bloody minded pleasure in ticking them off.

I’ve never seen the point of risk for its own sake though. Of say, bungee jumping. But taking risks with a bit of purpose, connecting a few people together and cheering them on, well that’s different. That type of risk makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck and my energy levels rocket.

That the cheering bit is work, only dawned on me this year. That it is of greatest importance when things are going badly has also sunk in.

I have taken a couple of huge career related risks. One was in committing to a corporate community building project. This forced me to be myself and turned out to be the most enjoyable thing I have ever done at work.

I was lucky, a brief hiatus gave me time to experiment with community, purpose and social media. I learned new skills, developed new attitudes and made a very few good new friends. The result is widespread collaboration so as to get better at Project Management. That is what we intended.

We did all sorts of things, but the most important thing I learned was to open up, give myself, be myself, to remain rational, but also to be just a little emotional about it.

Controlling that emotional component has been hysterically hard. I have spun off and crashed repeatedly, but it is worthwhile. This is especially true when working in fast moving, geographically disperse organisations.

Process, strategy and objectives get the job done and keep the lights on. They are necessary, but they are not enough.

Personal connections make the difference. They certainly help in a crisis, but they also release untapped potential in exuberant abundance. They help you tick off that list of impossible things.

As I write, having taken a further risk, things are up in the air, so I have to be a little vague. I learned so much in 2012 that several wholly new and rewarding (not financially) opportunities have opened up for me. I have changed from being a bloke who works in Technology into someone perhaps able to work in all sorts of other functions.

In 2011 I learned a little self confidence and to value my friends.

In 2012, I started to learn to be myself and to take risks.

In 2013 I am determined to enjoy it.

It is time to go for it !

7 Responses to "Day 33: Risk and Reward"

What Anthony didn’t say was that his encouragement, his emotional connection, and his willingness to take risks (some pretty big risks actually) were critical to the success of the corporate community building project that he led. He talks of learning new skills but actually he was teaching those new skills to the team of people around him (including me). And connecting that team to experts – cue Doug Shaw who shared this journey and wins the gold medal for bravery – but that is another story.

I agree that personal connections make the difference to any project but so does the quality of the leadership. I learned that leadership is also about knowing when to let go so that others can step in. It can be hard to do – I really don’t like letting go! But finally letting go (a bit) helped me to see that the community we had worked so hard to build was ready to fly the nest. The “community building” is starting to happen without us now. Now that is what I call success!

Thanks Anthony for giving so much of yourself to this project and for writing about it in this blog. Keep taking those risks in 2013.

Thanks also to Alison and all the Advent Bloggers for this amazing series of blogs. I’ve enjoyed them all.

Thanks, it was a bit of a hoot ๐Ÿ™‚

It was….and is ๐Ÿ™‚

Powerful stuff! Shakes *pom-poms* as you continue to go for it ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you, this next lap of the sun should be a blast ๐Ÿ™‚

Absolutely ๐Ÿ™‚

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