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Intelligent Risk-Taking for Leaders Using Systems-Thinking Methodologies

Big project failures are accounted to a series of multiple risks occurring. Although these risks are normally known in advance, they can cause great project and organisational harm, due to the fact that the individuals in charge did not act upon them in time.

It has been observed that entrepreneurs often pass the responsibility of risk along to someone else because they find themselves reluctant to deal with it. Our approach is to provide a broader understanding and exploration of risk and decision taking.  


Building understanding and experience in handling uncertainty and risk yields greater confidence in taking decisions initially and allows flexibility of response as situations change. In turn, this greater confidence speeds up innovation and organisational agility. 

What does it include?

1) The nature of risk and sense-making in a complex world 

  • Exploring types and sources of risk. 

  • Understanding the nature of risk and exploring the range of approaches for exploiting and managing it. 

  • Challenging assumptions of ‘order and causality’; ‘rational choice’; and ‘intentional capability’. 

  • Using the STRATrisk processes developed by Neil Allan and Kurtz & Snowden (Cynefin) sense-making frameworks as a basis to make sense of complex and complicated situations. 


2) Learning and applying new tools for handling strategic risks 

  • Underpinning theory of soft systems methodology 

  • Tools for handling risk in complex situations: 

  • Rich pictures; 

  • Concept and causal mapping 

  • Bayesian networks


3) Creating a workplace climate for intelligent risk-taking and innovation 

  • Understanding the nature of workplace culture 

  • Personal and leadership influence on culture for risk-taking, innovation and learning. 

  • Action planning for a better climate. 


What will you gain?

• Anticipate and look for unintended risks and consequences

• Balance risk and opportunity decisions

• Familiarity with and ability to apply new tools to look strategically to identify key risk leverage points, especially those that are not always obvious

• Ability to identify and manage strategic and system-wide risk

• Experience in handling uncertainty

• build confidence in taking measured risks

• General leadership skills

• Pro-activeness

• Ability to drive innovation

Who is it for: Junior and Senior Managers who are responsible of the management and implementation of high-risk projects.

How long: Two days

Extra Features: The ‘Stakeholder engagementand ‘Intelligent Risk Taking’ courses form part of a dyad providing you with practical support in driving innovation and change. Both programmes feature a highly experiential approach to learning in a workshop environment. Participants will work in alone, small groups and in pairs. One-to-one coaching, especially in support of the programme assessment instruments, is available during the programmes and following them.

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