It Was The Best of Times and the Worst of Times …

Our global village is in turmoil. We are buffeted by the constant flow of challenges. Left unchecked, our challenges reach a crescendo known as crisis. Our new fascination and mounting fear is focused on a new threat to our health – Ebola. Months before, this threat was confined to specific locations on the continent of Africa. The rest of the world sat unperturbed because the health risk was not in our neck of the woods. There was concern, but not enough to halt our pursuit of happiness.


Retrieved from Google Images, October 17, 2014

Sadly, as is the norm, our knee jerk reaction to events that are problematic is a sign of the inadequacy of our risk management techniques. Agencies that are charged with the responsibility of acting decisively and with proactive protocols appear to be plagued by paralysis of the mind. The fact that Ebola has reached the West, has prompted a flurry of activities to stem its spread.

Risk management is everybody’s business. We all engage in risk assessment everyday. From choosing a route that will get you to your destination in the least amount of time to complex risk assessment tasks associated with defusing the tension associated with a crime scene, our choices are informed by available data.

A basic risk management guide will focus on the following:

  • Planning for risk.
  • Identifying risk events.
  • Examining risk through qualitative and quantitative lenses.
  • Developing strategies and response systems.
  • Monitoring and controlling risk.
  • Identifying resources to address different levels of risk.
  • Identifying appropriate qualified talent to drive the decision making process.

Most organisations boast of having protocols in place, but when put the test … you get the idea!

Protocols are only as good as the paper they are written on. Here are some reminders that will assist you to make risk assessment habit forming for your company. Frame (2003) suggests the following:

  • Run a risk assessment before investing huge sums of money, time and other resources.
  • Help your team to understand that keeping a log of issues/concerns helps to identify weaknesses that can be addressed with urgency.
  • Create and communicate to all stakeholders, a disaster recovery plan. It makes absolutely no sense to say you have one and organization-wide your team has no knowledge.
  • Create, refine and communicate a crisis management plan. Determine, based on your industry the appropriate information to be communicated to your team.
  • Do not forget to use checklists. Remember as well to update your checklists in line with new data/knowledge. Communicate amendments.
  • Organize. A working group, comprised of different members of the organisation promotes buy in. Too many committees and working groups maintain the status quo. A diverse team will help to create diverse options and solutions.
  • Meet frequently and update the organisation periodically. Keeping your leaders and the members of your organization informed eliminates confusion in the event of perceived and actually threats.

© Suzette Henry-Campbell 2014


Frame, J. D. (2003). Managing projects in organizations: how to make the best use of time, techniques, and people. John Wiley & Sons.


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