Your attitude to risk

With the onset of longer days and warmer weather, it signifies time to get back into my race car and reignite my passion for motor racing.  Even though the car sits in the garage during the winter, my mind is not static – it is imagining the sense of driving around the circuit at top speed, dicing with other drivers, and really challenging myself to find out what I am capable of when driving the car.

Clive Steeper leading at Mallory Park

The mind plays such a pivotal role in either helping or hindering performance, it is critical to pay as much attention to your inner performance as your observable behaviour.  In the Personality Workbook, we highlight the aspect of risk, as being a key component of managing inner performance. By understanding your attitutide to risk, and tolerance of risk it can help you to recognise the impact it has on your behavour.

Risk Type Compass

The Risk Type Compass, created by Geoff Trickey at Psychological Consultancy, is useful to help you to understand different risk types. There are eight different risk types, based on four of the five dimensions of personality (extraversion, consscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience).

  1. Wary – fearful that things will go wrong, they seek to control everything.
  2. Prudent – self controlled and detailed, they organised and systematic
  3. Deliberate – calm, optimistic and self confident, they never walk into anything unprepared
  4. Composed – seemingly oblivious to risk, they take everything in their stride and bounce back from disaster
  5. Adventurous – impulsive and fearless, have a willingness to challenge convention
  6. Carefree – daring, excitement seeking and sometimes reckless
  7. Spontaneous – enjoy spontaneity, but are distraught when things to wrong
  8. Intense – highly strung, self critical, they take things personally and feel defeated when things go wrong

By understanding your own attitude to risk you can identify how to have greater choice in how you behave in the future.  Consider the types of risks that you face at work.  What do you do to mitigate those risks?  How do you prepare to face them?   For some, eating a yoghurt that is past its sell-by date is a risk.  For others, speaking to the CEO is risky.  If you are a leader, do you assume that your team has the same type of risk attitude as you? And what does that mean in terms of behaviour as a result?

Back in the driving seat, whilst I do have a high tolerance for risk, this does not mean that I get into the car and drive with no thought to safety.  A high degree of prudence is displayed in the preparation phase. All of the preparations in the garage with the team prior to getting out on track, mean that I have faith in the car and what it can do. They have a great attention to detail, and are highly organised.

Know yourself – know your team – and consider how risk impacts on your performance.

Clive Steeper is licensed to use Risk Type Compass and holds an Motor Sports Association (MSA) Instructors licence.

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