a Manager: Steve’s Soliloquy (Circa + 3 Years)
I am a risk taker. In the modern corporate world, a safe career path is to do the conventional thing. As they say, “no one ever got fired by buying IBM” – an adage derived from the time when Big Blue was the pinnacle of the industry and represented buyers’ safe choice. But I’m a risk taker – I like being the guy who champions the risky options – even at the peril of getting dinged for promotions or missing out on other corporate reward mechanisms. Playing it safe is not my thing – and hopefully not the thing that the big guys always want. It’s like a game of golf. Last weekend, I’m standing on the 3rd tee at Torrey Pines, needing to decide if I play it conservatively and aim off to the side of the green, or if I go straight at the flag, even though it is heavily fronted by a deep sand bunker and likely will cost me extra strokes if I “hit the beach.” I can visualize different targets, think about how good I would feel if I make the aggressive shot, and assess my confidence in making the different shots and the impact if I miss the target. Then I decide which way to go and fully commit and focus on that target. Golf is a game with little negative consequence of failure, so it is easy for me to go for the high-risk, high-reward target. I probably make the high-risk shot less than 20% of the time, but one great shot sure makes a memorable day. So, of course, I decided to take the risky shot. I missed, but Michael Jordan said that he missed more than 9,000 shots in his career, he lost almost 300 games, and 26 times he was trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. He failed over and over and over again – but is still regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time. Great success does not come without risk and without repeated failures. No risk – no glory.