Opportunity is rarely unaccompanied by risk. The extent to which a person, group or company can embrace risk is the extent to which it will meet opportunity. At the same time, we all have responsibilities: to management, employees, stockholders, families, the outer world. So we develop comfort zones, with boundaries determined by both inner and outer circumstances: historical experience, the current environment, and our expectations and hopes for the future.
Comfort Zones are where we usually
live. Danger Zones are places where
business, careers, health and safety are truly at risk. In between
are Learning Zones, often far more
spacious than we can know from behind the wall. It is here that we
can stretch thinking, behavior and business practices. Positive growth
therefore requires trust, "safety nets"—contingency plans and
management support, and making likely rewards greater than possible
losses. This is an important aspect of our own training designs, where
safe risks are encouraged in service of personal and corporate expansion.
Some people and companies have comfort zones that extend well into the danger zone, with no buffer. The dot-com implosion occurred when too many trapeze artists found no-one to catch them at the end of a swing, nor safety net beneath. Yet the greatest Opportunity Zones are often found at the edge of the unknown. So we coach expansion balanced by appropriate caution, through a variety of formal and intuitive tools.