A few months ago a client asked me how he could reduce risk to zero. He was planning to launch a new product and wanted to be sure that he would get regulatory approval.
My answer was that he could minimize the risk, but not all the way to zero, by learning the regulator’s perspective about the product’s new features and building a strategy based on the company’s current knowledge and new information they could gather.
Experienced field staff had a different view of the regulatory risks. They made comments like: “It will be difficult because…”, “it will take time, but there’s an approach that might work”, and finally “here’s what I recommend ….” They saw the regulatory and political obstacles very clearly and became problem solvers applying their knowledge to achieving the goal.
Absolute guarantees of success are rare in business and in life. The best prescription for risk is knowledge and clear-eyed decision-making.
Armed with knowledge, you can choose to navigate the minefield or alter the course. On the other hand, you can be certain of not achieving a goal not pursued.