#Blog4Biz Day 22: I Gotta Risk It!

When I saw this photo, I thought it was oxymoronic or contradictory in nature. On one hand you have a common child's toy. These well worn blocks might bring back memories of simpler times when you were building fine motor skills or developing early reading and vocabulary skills. On the other hand the blocks are not set against a colorful animal printed children's rug. Instead they are set on a austere, cold surface that feels almost institutional. The surface setting does not reflect the warmth that the blocks give.

This is the perfect metaphor to use to talk about today's #blog4biz challenge that asks what is my next business risk. For me, the blocks represent my business. Like the blocks, my business is personal. It is well worn. It exudes warmth and love. It bring good memories and happy times. 

The surface, represents the outside world. The world that says that communication skills are too "touchy feel-ly" to cause any real damage or make a real change in an organization. I think of all the hard nosed people who question its return on investment. The traditional business world says communication performance is a "nice to have" not "a must have". 

This is the dichotomy of the world of interpersonal communication skills. Professionals who operate in communication skills and see the value are already in "helping" jobs. Therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and clergy, for example, know the value of developing and exercising good interpersonal skills. In those circles, having a good communication skills is essential for job performance. 

In the traditional business or corporate setting, the opposite it true. When you think of business school, law school, or medical school students, do you think of them exuding good interpersonal communication skills? Probably not. You probably think of a concentration of high achievers striving to get to the top rung first with little regard for others.  A bunch of brainiacs trying to prove who is the alpha male. 

In computer science and information technology jobs, most professionals admit to having better "relationships" with technology than with humans. Some even prefer it. (NOTE: of course there are exceptions to every rule and I only intend to illustrate a point not further stereotype a group of people).

Though my business is my passion, it is often not viewed as a necessity that needs to paid for. People call my work common sense. Here is the problem with that term. Common is only true if we all have the same reference point. We don't! The sense (or lack thereof) that I have is not the same as the as others. So we need a bridge.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fastest growing industries are technical ones like health care, information technology, or manufacturing. None of these scream great interpersonal skills.

They do scream opportunity! We need a common ground. A common reference point when it comes to communication. I want to be in the position to help create and provide that for companies.

To answer the challenge question, my next business risk is to invest in the operational structure that will align my business to be a "must have" service to the fastest growing industries. Since their focus is technical in nature, I have the opportunity to increase their competitive advantage and consumer appeal by showcasing the return on investment of their intangibles things. I want to bridge the dichotomy. 

It will take a lot of planning and restructuring...all of which that I don't even yet know how to do. But it is a risk I need to take in order to continue to be relevant in the future.

The key for me is to remember this picture of the children's blocks. I have to remember the warmth and love. I have to remember the happy times. I have to remember the skill development and the emotional satisfaction I get when I teach, train, and coach on these skills. I have to remember that my techniques are well worn and proven. I have to remember to have some fun. 

I have to remember all of that when I am gunning for industries that typically don't seem like a good fit. At this point, I am not sure how it will happen but it will happen. 

One definition of risk is exposure to the chance of injury or loss. I am willing to expose myself to potentially losing. The first major client in a technical industry I go after might say no. I am willing to risk that. I have to be BRAVE enough to try. I have to be committed enough to stick with it. And I have to be organized enough to get it done!

The Living BRAVE blog re-launches on Aug 1, 2013. During July, however, I accepted the #Blog4Biz daily business blogging challenge. This post is a part of that challenge. If you want to join the challenge, click here.

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