With the resumption of activity in businesses and public services, the question of risk taking and legal liability comes up again and again in the media, with politicians and in the general public alike.

This is also symptomatic of a malfunction and the shifts to be made in order to reinvent ourselves.

Centralised organisations cannot deal with the unexpected – nor with “Permanent Reinvention®”.

One definition of “bureaucracy” is to put as many intermediaries as possible between the decision maker and the ground on which the decision is applied, so that control is exercised at every stage and responsibility is as diluted as possible, so diluted that in the end no-one bears it.

Entrepreneurs know that in a fast moving world, it is on the contrary necessary to make decisions as closely as possible to realities on the ground. This raises two problems that we are currently facing: who bears the responsibility and for taking what risk?

On this basis, the discussion about re-opening schools and removing penalties from these decisions is staggering! Refusing to take risks, with the legal consequences which may arise, and wanting (as I hear today from many local figures and politicians) “not to penalise” their responsibility is counterproductive!

However, don’t we executives also have this type of reaction in our organisations? Emails copied to 10 people – isn’t the main purpose of this to shirk responsibility for the risk, for instance?

Removing penalties in the public domain, shirking responsibility in a company, these are two facets of a lack of acceptance of risk, and a lack of trust between players.

To reinvent tomorrow’s world, first of all we have to trust ourselves, and then take risks.

Taking risks is what life is all about.

  •   Can you reinvent yourself without risk?
  •   Can you live without risk?
  •   Isn’t life itself about learning to take gradual and controlled risks, in taming your fears?

Risk taking means changing the “postman” (the person who merely passes on information, who doesn’t get involved) into a “player” with free will, who must be supported in increasing his competency in order to progress.

The response to risk is not to impose new rules or constraints on more “postmen”, the response to risk is to make each person grow in their position as a player and contributor, give them the means to act and innovate, allow them to assume their responsibilities and their risk-taking, in everyday life as well as in the business.

To move forward in this area, the only way is: trust!

Trusting yourself, trust each other, this is what enables “Permanent Reinvention®”.

Trusting each other is first and foremost a choice, a preference: let’s trust our city leaders, our teams on the field, the values we all have for finding solutions, let’s trust the players and their good intentions.

Trusting each other also means having a common goal and common values, and wanting to contribute to the action, everyone with their own input.

We know that these trust factors are more present when the hierarchical, managerial and social distance is less (and, of course, when the decision maker is worthy of our trust). We know that political trust is strongest for the mayors of small towns, for example. The same thing applies when you ask teams about trust in their manager, leader or the employers in general.

“Permanent Reinvention®”, which is essential for adapting to a fast moving world, means accepting that the players closest to the ground (those whom we trust) take initiatives, risks and decisions to adapt the broad outlines to the realities on their territory. “Permanent Reinvention®” means taking risks and having trust, trusting yourself.

Permanent Reinvention® and risk