Coping with reality means dealing with things which were unexpected at the time or when we are distracted by what seems important at the time. This is true of all staff team members from customer service, sales, technicians and those in the Boardroom. Identifying what is truly important and Mission critical, without it you can’t do what you set out to do, it is so vital.
Change is inevitable although how we handle it is within our control. Generally people approach this with a mixture of principles and rules, although most people have a preference for one or other as their base approach. Rules turn into tick box methodology and often have a by rote response by regular and staff which means they are only looking for what they normally look for, which generally leads to tightly process managed activity and efficiency when everything functions as it should. The principles approach is somewhat looser it encourages more initiative and innovation. As it is values driven this helps staff to make the ‘right’ decision in a responsive manner rather than wait for someone else to notice and sort it out.
Vigilance is important and to deal with issues such as customers theft or missing “borrowed stock”. Often this is not staffs first consideration especially if they do not have a specific responsibility for it or through restructure business process no longer provide adequate checks and business processes are not robustly monitored. Sometimes staff can take advantage of the systems for example in banking Mr Nick Leeson or more recently Mr Kweku Adoboli unauthorised trading led to a $2bn (£1.3bn) loss for UBS. These events not only affect operation profitability but share prices, in the second example UBS shares closed 11% lower on Thursday 15th September 2011 after they announced the rogue trades were being investigated.
- The risk management cycle
Solutions after the event are less helpful than prevention, but how do we prevent this from happening?
The answer is preparation by robust risk assessments looking at what may go wrong and what the likely impact of such an event are. To do this effectively you need good corporate governance and operational management able to review process, procedure and to review what is done by who, to ensure business continuity planning. Implementation to build in safeguards to enable operations to flow through at a competitive rate even if certain key personal are missing or problems occur as trading should continue if at all possible and too limit the possible damage and eliminate or minimise the opportunities for rogue people to play your systems. Vigorous risk assessments is time consuming but the consequents of not doing it are horrific, so a regular review of your monitoring regime must be incorporated into the risk management cycle, fresh sets of eyes might see what others have missed so balance continuity, with different people’s expertise applied.
As with being on a plane or a ship when choosing to spend time paying attention to putting on a Life jacket and what to do in an emergency. This is an investment of time one hopes is wasted… but this preparation will save lives and when Caring for Business through risk assessments could save your businesses from all sorts of troubles and minimise industrial accidents and perhaps thinking about what you do will enable new ways of working to be imagined as well how to mitigate potential risks. It is mission critical that the ship of your business does not assume a RMS Titanic invulnerability, as acting as if ‘it will never happen to us’ is not good business sense!
From my perspective as a cross sector UK Business leader it is of the utmost importance that in caring for business the people at the heart of an organisation must regularly perform due diligence preparations to mitigate against unforeseen circumstances, as business must go on.