Why Positive Risk-Taking is so misunderstood

‘A horse walked into a bar…’ (you can make up the rest… my version is that the bartender asked “what’s with the long face?”) So, you think you know what Positive Risk-Taking is… well, get it from the horse’s mouth…

A horse walks into a bar

There is no ‘Positive Risk’ in Positive Risk-Taking! Yet I have long since lost count of the number of times I have heard the phrase, such as “I am taking a positive risk.” What does that even mean?

As the person who initiated the concept back in 1994, I have always been very clear in communicating precisely what the phrase means.

And why should this even matter? Well, if you are not clear in what you are communicating, the oft-repeated message in all of those incident inquiries that “… communication broke down” will inevitably continue to be the case.

Ask 10 people what ‘Positive Risk’ means, and you might just get at least 11 different answers. For me, the positive is NOT about the risk; it IS about the outcomes. Why do we take a risk? Because we want to gain the benefit of the positive outcome of such an action.

Positive Risk-Taking is at the root of best practice in risk decision-making. It embodies a structured approach to clearly reasoned risk decisions.

To find out more about how good risk assessment practice informs the concept, and the role of mindset in making challenging risk decisions with confidence, check out my FREE training webinar by using the following link:


Consistency in the use and understanding of language across our organisations is essential for underpinning best practice.