Making decisions in the heat of the business day is not always easy. We may take chances and the results may go our way and benefit our customers and the company or we may get caught in a mistake.
This happens when companies strive to be innovative and don't hit on the right combination to create a profitable product. A business environment that encourages innovation and employees empowered to make decisions won't always face success. Sometimes there will be set backs.
Small business owners may not be able to absorb the cost of innovation and decentralized decision-making like corporations. Playing safe all the time and not letting anyone but one or two leaders make decisions has its own drawbacks.
A situation that sparked this thought of risk and reward in companies was risky base running in a baseball game I watched on MLB.tv.
There were two outs early in the Pittsburgh Pirates versus San Diego Padres game September 17. The Pirates were down 3-0 early on and then came back in the third inning with 2 runs. They had lost the night before and were in need of a win to stay even in the race for a division title.
Marlon Byrd was on second for the Pirates. A sharp hit went up the middle, got stopped by a Padres infielder and bobbled.
Byrd sped around third base and headed home. He took a chance to score and tie the game. The throw to the plate was in time and Byrd was out. Side retired.
I was watching the game on mlb.tv and thought for a moment, "Ah, Marlon Byrd should have stayed at third base. There would have been runners at first and third."
However, what if Byrd had stayed at third base and the next batter would have grounded out, hit an easy pop fly, or struck out? There would have been 3 outs and Byrd still would not have scored.
He was aggressive on the base paths and it didn't work out.
Decisions are like that in business. We have an opportunity to market our product or services in a new way or reward a disgruntled customer and the action may lead to monetary loss.
However, it could benefit the company's reputation and be seen as a long-term type of investment.