For the Gamblers Among Us
A close examination of sports and casino gamblers reveals a surprising motivation. Most frequent gamblers are indifferent to loss. While they prefer to win, that’s not the real goal behind placing bets. Nor is striking it rich. The actual focal point of gambling is excitement.
The so-called “action” of gambling consumes 100 percent of a gambler’s attention and creates an intensity of experience that gamblers crave. To dedicated gamblers, winning is better than losing only because it allows the gambler to play longer. They’ll do anything to keep the action and excitement going, including playing late into the night beyond their ability to think clearly.
Risk takers in your organization have much in common with gamblers. They crave excitement and arousal. They seek adventure in both their personal and professional lives. In their spare time, such people climb severe rock faces, navigate dangerous rapids, and train for high-stakes endurance competitions.
Inside your organization, they create new innovations and incubate disruptive ideas. Failure doesn’t bother them nearly as much as it does others because it is equally as captivating as success. That tragedy shares similar excitement to triumph explains why leaders must keep a close watch on anyone that fits the profile.
Good leaders identify the excitement-seeking intrapreneurs who will take unnecessary chances with house money. The idea is not to handcuff the arousal types who court disaster and live on the edge. The better strategy is to keep a close eye on them and not allow them to get too far ahead of what is reasonable — or outrun the coverage, as they like to say in football.
Remember these are the team members who will propel the organization forward with new innovations and ideas. We need them. But we also need to admit the fact that these colleagues can get everyone into a lot of trouble if left unattended. Checking in frequently with the risk-takers and giving them clear parameters as to what they can and cannot do serve to help everyone.
Becoming aware that some of the most creative people in any organization are all about the action allows leaders to put rational constraints into place that protect against any extreme downside. Who on your team needs to be monitored more closely? Good leaders stay especially attuned to those who primarily crave excitement. A check on reality is all a risk-taker really needs. Leaders guard the gate, while letting everyone through.