Calculated Risks Inspire Progression

Written by Jeremiah Harris on April 21st, 2009

At first glance I would have to say that MBM’s “guiding principles” are a very complete list of everything necessary to succeed in life.  However, after reflection on my life and our readings over the past semester I would have to say that it is missing one very important item—a sense adventure.  This sense of adventure that I am referring to is similar to that feeling you got as a little kid while riding your bike and your buddy dared you to go of that “little” jump.  Deep down inside you knew that it may be a bad idea, but you still wanted do the impossible.  Even though this principal may not have been mentioned explicitly by Koch, I believe that he has this sense of adventure. 

A story told on page 11 illustrates this point very well.  At this point in 1965, Charles Koch’s father was still in charge of the business.  He was scheduled to leave the country on a business trip and Charles approached him about buying two trucking companies in North Dakota.  The father gave permission to buy only one of the companies, but as soon as he was out of the country Charles went ahead and bought both companies.  The following statement illustrates the point well.  Charles says: “When I informed him of this, my father was initially furious, but eventually forgave us since both acquisitions ended being highly profitable.”  From this statement one can see that Charles Koch has this necessary sense of adventure that leads one to take calculated risks.  Later on in the book, Koch says, “Encouraging experimental discovery and not penalizing well-planned experiments that fail fuels an engine of small frequent bets that generates powerful discovery and learning.  This is vital to innovation, growth, and long-term profitability.”  From the reading of this book I have learned the importance of controlling, yet not hindering, the adventure in my heart.  


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