Risky Business

Every day, we take risks.

We eagerly cross roads without waiting for the green man’s assistance. Not ideal. We happily eat food without certified guarantee that it is not going to be to our detriment. Not encouraging. We obliviously sit at our desks tap-tapping away at our laptops, without a care in the world that our cup of tea is precariously overlooking the keys, just calling out to be knocked over. Never reassuring. We perform numerous daily duties much like these – from the mundane to the monumental – each with their own imminent dangers, and we don’t even bat an eyelid.

Although deep in our subconscious we are somewhat aware of their unpredictability, these risks simply do not overexert themselves as life threatening, so we refrain from handling them as such. When we consider risk, images of skydiving, dragon slaying, Vikings and sword swallowing come to mind – where one false move can mean death of the most dramatic kind. The dangers are obvious. But risk doesn’t need to involve danger; it need only involve uncertainty.
Picture the familiar scene. Boy loves Girl but Boy doesn’t want to admit this to Girl incase Girl says she doesn’t love Boy back. Boy is uncertain that his feelings will be reciprocated and therefore, declaring his undying love for Girl without the guarantee that Girl loves Boy back is a risk. A risk that will cost Boy his heart.

So how can Boy prevent this? Effective risk management.

Identifying risks early on in any project can save you a lot of time, effort and money. Managing and mitigating potential difficulties is necessary for survival and through effective preemptive action, the impact of project threats can be minimised and future risks can be avoided.

Generally, people just aren’t very good at managing risks and issues. We are not machines and at times, we may be ignorant, lazy, over-confident or simply forgetful, which is why we need to take time in our busy schedules to plan and implement risk responses. Significantly reducing the probability of these threats is the first step to precautionary perfection. When we value something, whatever its relevance, to lose it is a huge risk. So, without some form of insurance, we feel vulnerable and life becomes a very hostile environment.

In today’s society, risks are no longer isolated by industry or location, so it’s important to think outside the box. Not all risks are the same, which consequently suggests that treatment for each should be different. Some risks have a higher impact than others, so prioritising is paramount. Don’t focus on flitting away the little fish nipping at your toes when you’ve got enormous Great Whites to wrestle. Grab potential risks by the horns and throw them into oblivion. Investigate and analyse the nature of each threat and you will soon be blessed with invaluable insights.

Now is the time to breathe confidence into your risk management abilities and look positively to the future of project success.