When a crisis occurs – large or small, manmade, natural, a $100 crisis or a million dollar crisis – what is the first thing most of us do? We react, of course. What’s the next thing? Quite often, we look to place the blame. This sometimes caustic response is to be expected. We want to know what happened and why. All too often, however, we get caught up in that blame-game and forget about handling the situation with useful steps like mitigation and remediation. Big words we don’t usually find ourselves able to apply in the face of a crisis.
If we’re smart, the third thing we do is ask ourselves a question: how could we prevent this from happening in the future?
What does risk prevention really entail? There’s that old cliché – prevention is worth a pound of cure – and taking an introspective look at the existing environment can go a long way toward helping us see where the risks lie and knowing how to manage those risks on an everyday basis. Risk isn’t something to be discussed only at the quarterly board meeting, or once a year at the annual employees’ get-together. It should be considered across all areas of our businesses, not for the fear factor, but for the value factor.
Here’s a very simplified illustration: you know there are bad people out there who would take your possessions if given the chance, so you put deadbolts on your doors. You’re safe, right? Only if you remember to lock the doors. But do you always check that the door is locked, or even that the lock actually works? Don’t you sleep better at night when you do?
For risk prevention to actually add value, you must take both a reactive and a proactive approach that builds risk assessment, risk detection, risk correction, and risk metrics into all facets of the enterprise. You’ll sleep all the better for it.
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