By Steve Moran

In 1979, basketball great Magic Johnson was 19 years old and faced with a choice. He could choose to sign with Nike in return for stock options or with Converse for $100,000. He didn’t actually need the money, because he was being paid plenty to play basketball.

He picked the sure-thing $100,000 Converse deal. Today, that Nike deal would be worth an astonishing 5.2 billion dollars.

You might not feel too sorry for him since he has a current estimated net worth of around $600 million dollars, but even so …

A Few More Bad Decisions

  • Mars candy company was offered the first shot of having M&M’s as E.T.’s favorite food. Instead, Hershey offered up Reese’s Pieces. Their sales jumped 65% the same month E.T. was released.
  • In 1962, Decca Records decided not to sign The Beatles.
  • In 1990, a little company called was offered the opportunity to purchase another little startup called Google for $750,000. They said no.

It’s Not That Easy

These examples in hindsight seem like no-brainers, but it would be equally easy to make a list of risks and ventures people took that turned into dust. Yet risk avoidance can be a terrible strategy.

Take the Risk

Right now, some of you are struggling with what to do:

  • Stay in senior living or leave.
  • Stay with your current company or leave, hoping it will be better someplace else.
  • Fire that difficult team member and risk having one more empty position, or keep that position filled by a terrible team member.
  • Stay the course with your leadership style even though your occupancy is low and turnover is high, hoping for the economy to get better, or admit you need to reinvent yourself.

It all comes down to risk management. Most people would rather stay the course and hope things will get better. Sometimes, on occasion, this actually works, but mostly it doesn’t. I would encourage you to take the risk. More often, people who are willing to take the risk end up being happier that they did.