Risk, or lack of risk, is a concept that is often used without much thought given to what it means. A risk is an expectation of loss, harm, or damage. So, if I am going to put a risk on something, I may not know what will happen. Risk can be defined as a degree of uncertainty or risk, that is, the belief that there is a possibility something might go either way.
If you are going to put a risk on something, you may not know what that something is. And what is the risk of not knowing? I have no idea.
In marketing, we often talk about risk-based products and services, but we don’t usually talk about risk-based marketing plans. In fact, a risk-based marketing plan is basically just a set of actions we take to reduce the risk of something failing or not working as planned. In other words, it is just a set of actions taken to reduce the risk of something not working the way it was planned to work.
For example, if I put everything on the table and make a decision, there is a significant chance I might decide to not do it. Or in marketing, we talk about things like “risk-reduced” marketing plans that are designed to reduce the risk of a product or service failing. If that works, it can be a great marketing tool for a product or service.
Risk-reduced marketing plans can be complicated, but they’re not difficult. If you’re trying to make a decision, you don’t want a plan that is too hard. You want a plan that is simple and that you can just follow along with. In our case, we wanted to reduce the risk of an unexpected failure by creating a schedule that would give us an opportunity to learn and solve problems.
We had a pretty simple plan. We wanted to take a few weeks off before our planned launch date so we could get our heads together and come up with a plan to handle a problem that we had been facing. We wanted to put the plan into practice. So, we put all our effort into making sure we were prepared when we took a week off to think and plan. That worked out great. We had a plan that was simple enough to follow along with and it worked pretty well.
The problem is that our plan was also pretty clear-cut. We could have done a lot better. We could have done it better and easier. We could have done it in a more effective way so that we didn’t take a week off. But we didn’t. We did what we thought the plan required but then failed at.
We failed because we failed because we didn’t really try to think about it. And this is just one example, but think about how hard it is to plan in life. We’ve all had times when we were about to make a big decision so big that we wanted to spend a lot of time thinking. We’ve all had to think of a lot of different ideas all at once. We’ve all had to think of a lot of different arguments and counter-arguments.
What do you call that period where you are so committed to a big idea that you cannot stop yourself from saying “no” to it? Sometimes it will even mean that you will say “yes” to something else (maybe by saying “yes” to another big idea you have). It takes the best of us to be able to say “no” to ourselves.
And because we cannot be sure what it is like to be that committed to an idea without the ability to say no to it, we also cannot be sure if it will be worth our time.