Risk and Return

Colin Hall

We are blessed to live in a paradoxical world. As my African friends taught me, there is a truth in the palm of my hand, but perhaps an opposite truth if I look on the back of my hand.

This creates the privilege and gift of choice!

One of the most common of these paradoxes, is the choice between Risk and Return.

Not just financial or investment risks and rates of return, but in every decision we take. If we drive faster we will get there earlier, but we could have an accident or be caught speeding. If I enjoy sitting in the direct sun for too long, I risk sunburn. If I eat too fast, I risk choking. If I work too hard, I risk burnout ……. and so on.

Since my career was largely a corporate one, I was caught up in the business risk and return conundrum for most of my working life and in those businesses and those times the focus and weighting was always “risk and RETURN”.

Maximising RETURNS to the shareholder was what it was all about. Uncompromisingly!

Now as a consultant and fascinated observer, I see that it has turned 180 degrees. It is now “RISK and return” … if you are lucky enough to survive, never mind make profits.

Ask Kodak … analyse Blockbusters … track Anglo American … own a metered taxi … look at the value of your shareholding in Lonmin … check the share prices of the big five Construction Companies … consider the brand damage to VW diesel and the cost of recalling 10 million vehicles … ponder upon the impact of the fine on MTN … calculate the impact of a Rand that has halved in value relative to many critical currencies … or of an oil price of less than $30 per barrel.

Some of those will be permanent casualties. They will become mere memories.

But then look at how the shareholders in Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Uber and AB and B are doing, and the returns they are enjoying!

Our research and our conclusions are that those that will survive and flourish in this new and challenging environment, that we believe is getting tougher by the hour, are not those with huge cash resources or unique geniuses or great brands – but those who employ and empower high energy employees, invest heavily into the latest technologies quickly and, critically importantly, understand the concept of the “collective brain” – the capacity to think together – the capacity to think like a lion pride, and not selfishly and independently, like leopards.

For over 20 years we have been helping individuals and teams to find, master, sustain their energy and think and behave like prides of lions.

It is a choice you have in your life and in your team and we truly believe it’s an urgent and crucial choice.

Colin is part of Learning to Lead, an organisation that offers a unique human energy experience for those who wish to lead more effectively. Learning to Lead specialises in Human energy management, which is its constant focus and theme, as it is the key determinant of human effectiveness. For further information on Learning to Lead, please visit http://ltl.co.za/index.html.