There’s an old saying: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” In other words, if you don’t take risks, you won’t earn many worthwhile accomplishments. However, it’s often hard for people to take risks—especially when they’re in a big business where a lot of people’s livelihoods ride on these risks. The thing is, every decision is a risk.
In today’s video, I sit down with Bill Sands to talk about how it’s a risk to make decisions—but how it’s necessary to take risks every now and again.
Here’s a Low-Risk Decision: Watch the Video!
Why Do Smaller Businesses Seem to Be More Decisive?
At the very beginning of the video, I say to Bill: “It’s a risk to make a decision. Probably, that’s why they have committees to help people make decisions too. It’s like, [having] more numbers makes it safer to make decisions.” In any organization, every decision that a leader makes can have a profound impact on everyone else in that organization.
When these decisions work out, that’s great—a round of applause for the decision-maker. However, when a decision doesn’t work out, that person may be held responsible for the fallout. This can lead to a bit of paralysis for leaders in large organizations because their decisions affect more people. Larger consequences make it tougher for someone to bear the burden of a negative outcome.
So, people in big companies may choose to leave decisions to a committee of people. Not because having more people agree on a course of action will ensure it’s the correct one, but because it spreads out the responsibility—and the risk—among more people. Unfortunately, these committees are just as capable of being wrong as an individual. Also, the process of debating actions can create enormous delays.
This is part of the reason why I say in the video that our target customers are “small businesses that are run by entrepreneurs, leaders, people that are pushing the edge—that are, in some ways, more of a risk-taker to use and capitalize on competitive technologies faster than other companies do.” These small businesses are more agile and adaptable to changing situations because there’s less paralysis among the decision-makers.
Bill notes in the video: “In a smaller organization, it easier to see what the impacts of your changes will be. In a larger organization, you have to control that change, almost to the point of stifling change.” Because small changes can make a huge, unforeseen impact in a bigger company, it’s harder for these companies to make any kind of decision. However, it’s equally true that companies of all sizes need to be able to make major decisions quickly so they can adapt to ever-changing markets.
Adapt or Die: The Law of the Modern Market
Adaptability is essential for the continued survival of businesses in today’s ultra-competitive market. The company that fails to take risks and make changes to adapt to new tools and trends dies. As I say in the video: “You’ll see that… companies that don’t adopt [new solutions] and change, they die.”
How many businesses that were once giants of their industry have fallen by the wayside in recent years? For example, consider the fates of companies like Circuit City, which, according to CBS News, went bankrupt in 2008, or Blockbuster Video, which became almost completely extinct in 2010.
In Circuit City’s case, one of the reasons it failed was that, as noted by CBS: “Circuit City became merely reactive and not innovative.” Instead of making decisions that put it ahead of competitors, it merely reacted to the moves of others and fell behind. Blockbuster, meanwhile, had a chance to get into the online video distribution market with Netflix, but decided not to buy out the company that would later crush them.
Stagnation kills companies of all sizes. Without innovative solutions, it’s hard to stay ahead of competitors who can do all the same things, but in new ways that are more convenient, memorable, or cost-effective.
From Cutting-Edge to Obsolete: Why Everything Needs to Change Occasionally
In the video, Bill Sands brings up how a solution that was once cutting-edge is now considered woefully obsolete:
“When the precursor to Protected Trust first started on Hosted Exchange, which seems like an antiquated thing now. But, at the time—2003—that was cutting edge. The clients that came on board, at first, were really the risk-takers… and so, now it’s not exchange that’s cutting edge anymore, it’s 365 or Teams.”
I follow that up with a bit about how Outlook used to be the killer communication app. Back in the day, email really changed the game for how people in companies communicated with one another.
Email was once the cutting edge of the modern office, but now it’s a basic communication tool. Over time, even small innovations can add up to change the meaning of “modern” for businesses. What entails a modern office today? Here’s a definition that I bring up in the video: “The modern office, to me, is about the way people communicate. People want to communicate in a safe place—they want to feel protected. They want to feel like their ideas are being heard… the silos or the cubicles that people live in, I don’t think those exist anymore.”
While this and communication tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack are the cutting edge of office communication now, there may come a time when even these solutions become just another basic tool, and there will be a new killer app that makes businesses more collaborative and productive.
Be sure to watch the video for the full discussion. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to the Protected Trust team for answers.