Waiting to cross the road on the way to the office this morning reminded me that risk is a very personal thing. Some people waited for the green man to appear, others took their chance with a gap in the traffic and made a dash for it – they all made it, and there was another group who were looking the wrong way!

Every one of us weighed up the risk and decided an action for dealing with the same task i.e. to cross the road, but we were all different, we all saw the threat differently and took a behaviour that allowed us to manage the risk within our comfort zone. Maybe the third group remind us that some people don’t even see risks or want to look at them.

Our attitude to risk is also governed by our experiences – if you’ve already been run over three times you start to become very cautious about crossing the road!

When we suffer a bad experience we will become more risk averse towards the particular threat and take actions to prevent a reoccurrence. Equally if we have never experienced the impact of a perceived threat our attitude may move to being more accepting.

In most organisations there’s often a wide range of people so of course there’s a range of experiences to draw upon. Everyone has seen and experienced different events and whether consciously or sub consciously, we have all learnt from them.

Sometimes we work with colleagues who when faced with a situation or event proclaim they ‘have seen it all before’ or ‘got the Tee shirt’. This may offer us benefits through their experiences and provide lessons about how we can revise our approach or see how the situation is different this time around.

It’s good to have different opinions and ideas when tackling situations or problems. Often the sharing of views and ideas leads to modifications and new ideas that combine the best aspects of the contributions and result in better outcomes.

Previously I have referred to the need to focus on facts and apply structure to your Business Continuity activities. Sure, we must learn from people’s experiences, it is right and proper to use this knowledge, but we must remember to temper the experiences with facts, particularly around the impact. If someone has experienced a bad situation there can sometimes be a tendency for the impact to get exaggerated or magnified.

Look at the facts when you review incidents – what was the actual impact? What did we lose? What did it cost us?  Then you can make rational, fact based decisions on how to prevent and manage future events.

August 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm
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Category: Business Impact Analysis
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