Decide, Change: The Two Essential Risks for Ultimate Success

Guest post from Tom

Risk is everywhere, and while common
sense and consultants tell you to minimize risk, I suggest the opposite. I
maintain that embracing what I call the “two essential risks” is
necessary to achieve your ultimate success in business.

Sure, you hope to avoid liability,
investment, and market risks as you pursue your entrepreneurial dream, so you
take steps to mitigate exposure. But a business owner must embrace and leverage
these two essential risks to achieve ultimate success:

1. Decide: Choose a direction and jump.
2. Change: Make both internal adjustments and external innovations to keep
going and growing.

With all the potential risks present
in business, how could I narrow it down to two essential risks? In my thirty
years of experience, I recognized that successful businesses were always moving
forward. As the business environment changed, they adapted. As the competitive
landscape became more intense, they decided to meet the challenges head-on
rather than defer making a move until later.

Successful leaders have the courage
to make decisions and to welcome change. So it was obvious that these two
essential risks were necessary to maintain the forward motion for long-term
entrepreneurial success. Here is a detailed look at why these two essential
risks provide you with an unexpected edge.

Indecision is the mental paralysis in humans that prevents them from moving
forward. Is there anything more frustrating than waiting for a dinner companion
who just can’t decide what he wants even after reading the entire menu, polling
everyone at the table, and getting a detailed description of each dish from a
clearly frustrated waiter? This is not a life-or-death situation — it’s

But this decision-making paralysis
affects plenty of people, and when it possesses an entrepreneur, there’s
trouble with a capital T ahead.

Decision making is a key component
of execution, and execution is what transforms a plan into reality. Execution
makes a business happen. By deciding to take the leap of faith, you initially
embrace this essential risk and your dream becomes reality.

But this is only the first of many
decisions you must make throughout your journey. The leader who wants the
unexpected edge that comes from embracing risk welcomes the opportunity to make
decisions. When no decisions are made, nothing happens, and you don’t move
forward; you stagnate, and your dream begins to crumble.

The rule is simple: Businesses must progress, and progress requires change.
Change, the other essential risk, holds the risk of failure. It is a difficult
concept for most people to accept. In the business world, fear of change
probably is the single biggest obstacle companies need to overcome to meet the
evolving marketplace challenges. What makes embracing change even more
difficult is that a business must be willing to simultaneously change
internally and externally, to keep progressing and remain competitive. How a
business deals with change is reflective of organizational leadership and its
ability to minimize the level of fear.

Internal change happens within the
business walls, and it is not necessarily customer facing. Internal change can
be organizational; there are changes in personnel, management, department, and
staff reorganizations. It also refers to processes or systems, changes in
attitude, and the business personality. While these three aspects can and do
change independently, they also can be linked, thus resulting in dramatic

External change is always customer
facing; it’s most noticeable to your customers and competition. Innovation, an
external change, brings a new competitive edge to your business by introducing
products or services that increase the value of a customer’s experience with
your organization. Innovation is announced in the marketplace through branding
and marketing.

When an entire organization embraces
the risk of change, a dynamic transformation occurs: There is a continuous
culture of improvement both internally and externally, and the business
dynamically evolves to meet competitive challenges. As internal processes are
enhanced, the change will ultimately affect the customer-facing components, thus
improving the customer experience. And with the proper feedback, this in turn
helps to further improve the internal process. Embracing the risk of change
creates an environment of perpetual motion FORWARD!


Author Bio
Tom Panaggio,
author of The Risk Advantage: Embracing the
Entrepreneur’s Unexpected Edge
, has enjoyed a thirty-year
entrepreneurial career as co-founder of two successful direct marketing
companies: Direct Mail Express (which now employs over 400 people and is a
leading direct marketing company) and Response Mail Express (which was
eventually sold to an equity fund, Huron Capital Partners). For more
information please visit