Regular readers of Zeitgeist will know that a recurring theme within our blog is the issue of risk management. Risk management is described as “the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks (defined in ISO 31000 as the effect of uncertainty on objectives, whether positive or negative) followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities”.
As business leaders, the management of risk is a critical role for us and yet, too often, insufficient priority is given to the management of risk. There are a number of reasons for this – not least that risk management does not provide immediately measurable results, unlike dealing with a crisis where once dealt with, we can bask in the knowledge that we have had an impact and made a difference.
A risk is something that might happen and therefore, by inference, it might not. Why waste time then on something that might not happen? Indeed if risks are improperly assessed and prioritized, time can be wasted in dealing with the risk of losses that are not likely to occur. Spending too much time assessing and managing unlikely risks can divert resources that could be used more profitably. Unlikely events do occur but if the risk is unlikely enough to occur it may be better to simply retain the risk and deal with the result if the loss does in fact occur.
Nevertheless, preparing for potential, realistic risks is good management practice and is a key leadership responsibility.
Risk management needs to be taken seriously. Take, for example, the issue of silicon implants and paint-balling (admit it, you don’t see the connection but bear with us). Just this week in London, England a 26 year old woman had one of her silicone gel breast implants ruptured after it was hit by a paintball shot. It’s worth noting that these paintball projectiles travel at around 190mph (300 Kph) and generally contain gelatine or food colouring.
The young lady in question visited her doctor following the event and discovered that one of her implants had been hit and torn apart – a deflating experience no doubt…
A spokesman for UK Paintball said they were now taking precautions to make sure women with breast implants avoided injury, but said that they thought it was the first accident of its kind in the UK.
A statement on UK Paintball’s website now says “We respectfully ask that any ladies with surgical breast implants notify our team at the time of booking. You will be given special information on the dangers of paintballing with enhanced boobs and asked to sign a disclaimer. You will also be issued with extra padding to protect your implants while paintballing.”
An extra line has also been added to the company’s standard indemnity form saying, “paintballs can damage/rupture breast implants”.
Now, whilst exploding breast implants won’t necessarily be high on our risk mitigation strategy list it does serve as a good reminder that assessing risk in business is an appropriate use of time. If you do not currently spend time identifying, assessing and mitigating risk, we suggest that you schedule some time, get your team together and brainstorm the risks that might derail you and your plans going forward. Develop appropriate mitigation strategies and review regularly.
The woman involved in the paintball incident has not been named but you will be comforted to know that she is expected to make a full recovery…