What Drives Your Personal Risk-Taking?

Guest Blog Contributor: 

Rob Chvatal

President and Organizational Consultant

Catalyst for Change, Inc 



Lead by Understand what drives YOUR Personal Risk-Taking

I caught myself tailgating another driver the other day.  The roads were a bit slick here in Minnesota.  Easy to say, I put myself and many other drivers at risk that day. 

I have been working on my own personal safe driving behaviors for a decade.  The same amount of time I have been teaching a workshop entitled Safe Work Habits where many participants have committed to wearing seatbelts for the first time in their lives, and hundreds have committed to wearing other PPE, getting the right tool for the job, helping others “no matter what”, working safely on ladders, driving safely, etc, etc, etc.  I have been talking about, listening to, supporting, and working on reducing at-risk behaviors constantly for over a decade, and yet, falling into an old at-risk behavior, an old bad habit actually, is so easy when I am in a hurry.

We are all faced with a constant battle to choose to do the safe behavior when we are in a hurry, distracted by other priorities, feeling peer pressure, low on energy (i.e. feeling lazy), inexperienced, too proud, etc.  This is true for all of us.  Yes, some people are safer than others.  But in working with thousands of leaders across multiple industries I have found a very common theme – we are all taking unnecessary risks.  For most leaders, our risk isn’t on the job, it’s in the things we do off the job – in our cars, garages, yards, basements, cabins, kitchens, shops, etc. 

But make no mistake about it, the choices between being safe or taking a risk that we face at home and play are the same types of choices our employees face on the job – to wear PPE, to use the right tools, to think before we act, to get the right equipment, to ask for help when needed, etc. 

Safety is a fight against human nature; against our tendencies to take risks for short term gain.  We all have opportunities to make better decisions about how we perform daily tasks.  Winning the battle against our past tendencies often starts with understanding the choices we make personally about safety.  For me, as far as I have come in my own personal safety, I can still slip back into old habits when I get in a hurry for example. 

Do you know what traps you into taking unnecessary risks?  Understanding this will help you lead others to the same understanding.  And that is a step toward being able to win the battle against our tendencies to take risks!