Thursday, 25 July 2019

Managing Risk

In two previous articles, I wrote about why it’s important to be able to handle a crisis and what one might consider when looking at possible crisis scenarios.

There’s a saying, “Crises don’t come with manuals”.  If they did, the world would be a better and safer place.  Although there’s no manual for a crisis, we can easily create manuals for handling a crisis.  They don’t have to be long (in fact, it’s better that they aren’t, so that people are more likely to read them).  Even a single sheet of A4 setting out “Whom-to-speak-to-about-what” is a start.

Assuming that people have identified the possible “danger areas”, the next stage is to decide what we can do to eliminate, mitigate or manage them.

“Elimination”is what it sounds like; remove the risk altogether.  This may mean putting physical distance or barriers up.  It may mean locks on doors, waterproofing equipment, armed security personnel.  We eliminate when we decide that the risk of a certain event happening is intolerable.  

“Mitigation”accepts that things may well happen and looks to reduce their potential impact.  We install fire extinguishers and fire blankets (in the hope that we never have to use them) to put out small fires before they go out of control.  We have First Aid kits and trained First Aiders in case of workplace injuries that can either be treated on-the-spot or so that the victim can be stabilised pending the arrival of paramedics and ambulances.  

“Management”means accepting that the risk is out there and that we try to reduce it happening. As an example, we wear “Hi-viz” jackets in poor visibility to increase the chances of being seen.  They won’t stop people hitting us, but they reduce the chances of it happening because the motorist couldn’t see us.  No one can legislate for inconsiderate drivers causing accidents, but we managethis by ensuring that, before someone is licensed to drive, they pass a stringent test to ensure that they can handle a car and know the rules of the road.

We may store emergency equipment or have a back-up site so we can continue working.  We may store older records offsite to that these don’t get destroyed by fire on the premises.  

Neither “Mitigation” nor “Management” completely eliminate the risk; they may reduce the likelihood or impact of something happening.  We rely on the cooperation, alertness and consideration of others at times to be safe. 

One vital aspect to remember is people.  All the equipment in the world won’t save us if “key personnel” can’t be back up and running as soon as possible.  One company realised that, as part of their contingency measures, two staff who took orders over the telephone had to be functioning again as soon as possible. They were, in this case, more important than the Managing Director!

Assuming we’ve identified the areas of risk to us, what can we do to eliminate, mitigate or manage? What equipment, processes and people need to be in place?  Who are the "Go-to" personnel (and their backups) in particular situations?

I have spent more than half my life delivering change in different world markets from the most developed to “emerging” economies. With more than 20 years in international financial services around the world running different operations and lending businesses, I started my own Consultancy to provide solutions for improving performance, productivity and risk management.  I work with individuals, small businesses, charities, quoted companies and academic institutions across the world. An international speaker, trainer, author and fund-raiser, I can be contacted by email. My websiteprovides a full picture of my portfolio of services.  For strategic questions that you should be asking yourself, follow me at @wkm610.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home