The business world is full of stories of those who took epic risks and somehow prospered despite the odds. What's more, risk taking seems like a career necessity for the professional that wants to move up today. The problem is, too few people have a system for sizing up a risk and deciding whether or not to pursue it.
While there's long been excitement and intrigue associated with taking a job abroad, many of us―particularly women―have also heard unflattering accounts. One executive I met recounted the time she went on assignment to Saudi Arabia, only to address a blank wall each day she kicked off status meetings. As it turned out, no males from her host country were willing to make eye contact with her. There's also the story of the fast-tracking woman who journeys to Asia Pacific, takes a job heading up a business unit and finds she's neither seen nor heard. Her host colleagues don't know quite where to place her, a point echoed by the fact that there are no women's restrooms on executive floors.
When you’re thrown a new opportunity or project—let’s say one that calls on your weakest skill—how do you react? Do you see it as a challenge or a threat? If you look at many leaders that took on high level posts, you’ll see that they were helped by the belief that they have all the ingredients needed—right then—to take on the task.
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