Don't Confuse Risk and Ambiguity

The current issue of Inc. magazine has a great interview with noted business author Jim Collins.

One of the many succinct observations he offers is that people often confuse risk with uncertainty, particularly when talking about entrepreneurship.
"As an entrepreneur, you know what the risks are. You see them. You understand them. You manage them. If you join someone else's company, you may not know those risks, and not because they don't exit. You just can't see them, and so you can't manage them. That's a much more exposed position than the entrepreneur faces. But there's lower ambiguity on the paint-by numbers path: very clear but more risky. The entrepreneurial path: very ambiguous but less risk. Of course, the truth is that it's all ambiguous, anyway. If you think you can predict the future, you're crazy."
Next time you face a decision you see as risky, ask yourself if ambiguity might actually be the source of your discomfort. Doing so may cause you to choose a different path.

1 comment:

Ben Martin, CAE said...

And whatever you do, don't confust confuse with confust. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.