Yin and Yang and the 5 Risk Roles of Executive Leaders

Diversity, transparency, empathy.

When organizations welcome these qualities while maintaining structure and stability, they’re ahead of the game.

It is often difficult to find the right balance between an aggressive approach and a passive one when managing a business. In this article, I will describe the 5 types of risk, the 5 risk roles of executive leaders, and how these apply to balancing the Yin and Yang of Management.

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Overview of the 5 Types of Strategic Risk

Strategic planning is a fascinating and complicated process. There is no “correct” way to create a strategic plan; every leadership team has a unique definition of where the company is going or how you’ll get there.

While this wide range of options allows for tremendous latitude and flexibility, a company’s planning process can be TOO easygoing. It’s a bit like having a body with all the bones connected (immobilized) and one that has no bones at all (a bowl of jelly). Both extremes — too rigid or too relaxed — make it easier for threats to creep in and destroy what you’ve worked so hard to create.

Most organizations use a Strategic Plan (though certainly not all, in my experience). And most plans define the company’s Vision, Mission, Values, Objectives, and Measures — which I abbreviate as VMVOM.

But while a plan can look great on paper, most strategic plans do not consider strategic risks.

In this post, I’ll review 5 types of risks specific to the strategic planning process, and which one I believe is the most critical to organizational growth.

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Yin and Yang Approaches to Management

Balance is very difficult for leaders. When things go wrong, many of us find it hard to stay calm, cool, and collected.

Leaders are expected to meet objectives, yet also be approachable. To maintain control, but welcome differing opinions. To motivate staff, yet manage ongoing risks.

A few years ago, I was hired as director at a healthcare facility in Minnesota. It was a perfect fit for my experience and training. The leadership team was encouraging, as were the members of my department. And I really loved being in a long-term care environment.

But despite all the support, I found myself increasingly stressed and anxious. The problem wasn’t just the high-pressure environment; instead, it was a battle happening in my mind. As an introvert, I do my best work in periods of silence and reflection. My information-gathering process is intuitive, because I rely on connections between things that are not obvious to others. Rather than following a specific pathway, I look for hidden clues and investigate the root causes of problems. My process may be unconventional, but it gets results.

Unfortunately, executive roles typically do not welcome an intuitive thinking process. And this clash — between my natural temperament, and a system that rewards fast and decisive action — resulted in a very high-stress environment.

I wondered:

Why was it so difficult for intuitive leaders to fit the mold of traditional corporate thinking?

and

Is it possible to find a balanced leadership style?

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