When we talk about Risk

posted in: Business Risk, General | 0

When we talk about risk

 

 

When we talk of risk, we often associate this with things such as Car Insurance or some form of insurance.

 

We talk of risk like it is something we can calculate and reduce to Rands per million at a premium per month.

 

I would like to share a few experiences of taking a Risk, which cannot be calculated. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, and lack a sense of humour.

As a young man, I would often think back to how my parents raised me. I would think carefully of the things they had done completely wrong like clipping me on the back of the head with a flat hand when I made an inappropriate comment, like chirping them for being lazy when they asked for a cup of tea or some help around the house. I recall thinking that in going to school and achieving an above average grade I had done my job, why should I also clean the pool or mow the lawn?

I was a cheeky little brat, I could drop comments and be sarcastic with the best of them. I didn’t like the way my parents raised me when I thought about it. I thought they could have done better!

When I met my wife we were both in agreement, our parents had done a poor job of it. The way they raised us was so risky, it is a surprise we made it to the chapel! We would be SO MUCH BETTER. These are the things we would never do.

  1. Say the following: “I brought you into this world, I’ll take you out of it!” Nor any of those classic lines about taking a look off your face and such like.
  2. Smack a child in public! (Very taboo).
  3. Scold a child when they are tired.
  4. Raise our voice in anger. (Like we would never be angry with our angels??)
  5. Exceed the speed limit!
  6. Start the car before each child has been strapped in or confirmed that his seat belt is clipped in.
  7. Give the children sweets before driving any distance with them, or putting them to bed.
  8. Smacking them across the back of the head – ever.
  9. We would never yell at our child to not be stupid
  10. We would never make them; do something, eat something, or be something they did not want to; do eat or be.
  11. The list goes on.

 

How long do you think it took for me to hear my father’s voice in the garden, telling the two fools to stop bickering with each other? “If you two “chops” are bored, I’ll give you something to do! Don’t look at me like that, I’ll wipe that look right off your face!”

On more than one occasion, I have clipped my son on the back of the head for a comment or chirp he has fired at his mother, without even thinking – almost like it was instinct.

I have since, and on many occasions noted, with much humility and occasionally a little smile on my face, that the apple falls close to the tree. I am not my father, but I am not too different.

So why tell this story, why be vulnerable and share that I am not perfect? Well the truth is that not all risks can be calculated. Not all mistakes are avoidable. We make choices intuitively, and without so much as a thought.

We drive to work, drop off the children, walk across the street, run for exercise and think nothing of the collective risks we take.

 

When life throws us a curve ball. Take a swing at it!

Mountbatten Insurance consultants is an Independent Brokerage. We are parents, we are mothers and fathers who understand that you have not done the calculations, and you have not worked out what risks you are taking. You are quite likely just taking life one day at a time, and doing the very best that you can!

We do however have products that can help limit the impact of things going wrong in many areas of your life. Every product type we offer is there to help.

From Assurance (Life Cover, Disability Cover, Dread Disease), to Investing. From Insurance and all of it’s guises, Contractors all Risk, Guarantee’s, Event Liability to Household and vehicle insurance. We are here and available to help.

If you have read this article, and can identify in any way with what has been written, feel free to send a mail to sizaminakakhulu@gmail.com One lucky respondent will win one thousand rand. I will accept mails until the 30th of July and respond to all on the 1st of August.

If you would like additional information about what we can do to assist you with your daily risks, be it insuring a hole in one, or the risks associated with building a bridge, send an e-mail to brad@mountbatten.co.za We are here to partner with you in every aspect of your business and life.

 

 

 

Risk Analysis

Risk Analysis

To jump or not to jump? That is the question.

 

I vividly remember when I was younger and my teacher asked me if I could swim the froggie (breast stroke to you and I), I wasn’t sure what that was but I knew two things.

  1. I knew that a frog jumped on all fours and
  2. I knew that swimming involved getting from one side of the pool to the other.

 

That was all the information I needed to come to my conclusion, I thought to myself. “I could do this?”. In a matter of seconds I had decided that I could swim, regardless of whether or not I had actually done this. I had seen a frog leap plenty times, I mean how much more different could it be in water?? In that moment I had made a conclusive decision to sink or swim.

 

One can say,  I think, “That is crazy!” and I probably was. I think I could have won first prize for my bravery but that is what risk taking is all about, uncertainty. Risk taking presents a high level of uncertainty and this scenario is no different. There is always an element of uncertainty when taking risk.  A few scenarios could have played themselves out in this situation but only one did, of course the level of uncertainty is heightened by the lack of knowledge and experience but it does not eliminate the fact that the objective was clear – getting to the other side (staying alive perhaps).

 

You see, the science behind the method of risk taking will take you through the steps of reducing the levels of uncertainty. Transforming a high risk situation to a low risk situation. Intellectuals will teach you different formulas, each advocating for their own method of how to best approach risk management. They will say try the KISS approach, try the Delphi method, do the SWOT analysis, conduct expert interviews or have collaborative workshops but somehow all too often produce the result of focusing on the “weeds” as described by Ovidiu Cretu et al in his book Risk Management for design and construction. This can actually cause what they call “analysis paralysis”. Where one becomes so fixated on the tiny details that it stops one from making progress towards taking risks.

 

Project managers and contractors will know all too well that there will always be an element of uncertainty in any project. The trick is to learn how to reduce it and when the plan doesn’t work out, to find ways of coping. If at some point you can’t avoid it or transfer the risk, Vickey Haney presents a few options of possible responses.

– Work around it

– Contingency plans

– Reserve Funds

– Follow a detailed plan

– “do nothing”

Although the last one seems non-response, it can sometimes be the best response. Taking risks is part of the game, learn it, play it and play it well. With a combination of faith, bravery and action; you too could also learn how to swim. Someone said “a life without risk is a life half lived”.

 

Risk Analysis requires an assessment of the risk, a belief in the risk you are taking, followed by the action of doing what is best for the situation. Sometimes no one can teach you that, you can choose to jump or not to jump. Perhaps we could learn a lesson from my youthful self and take the plunge. You can never fully eliminate risk but you can certainly reduce it so you can achieve the objective.

 

The risk will always be that you could sink, oh but what if you swim?

 

I did. What about you?

 

 

 

References:
Book: Risk Management for Design and Construction, Ovidiu Cretu, Robert B. Stewart, Terry Berends
http://pittsburgh.iiba.org/download/Chapter%20Meeting%20Presentation%2011-01%20%28Risk%20Management%29.pdf

Some quotes on good living,
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/living

 

 

Calculated Risk

Calculated Risk

Are you a risk taker? Or do you play it safe?

I have always considered myself to be a ‘play it safe’ kind of person. The thought of bungee jumping gives me a surge of panic and I start to feel woozy, all I can think of are the indemnity forms and all those YouTube videos of ‘the bungee jump gone wrong’, so I put my feet firmly on the ground and breathe in and out and think to myself that’s for crazy people and I like the stability of this ground I’m standing on. If you are reading this and are like me you might be thinking, ‘that’s exactly me!’ but there are many things we could learn from the risk takers out there, not to mention the spectacular views we’re probably missing.

Great leaders and entrepreneurs don’t become great by being predictable and playing it safe. There are positives in being consistent and all risks should have a level of consideration but in saying that sometimes it is easy to overanalyze. Anyone can talk themselves out of something and when taking a risk you can’t let yourself be paralyzed by the details. It might never be the perfect time, with perfect circumstances, but at some point you just have to go for it. Take the risk, take the plunge.

In saying that not all risks are meant to be to be jumped at; there are two types of risks in this world – calculated and un-calculated. So what is a Calculated Risk? By definition Calculated Risk is, “A risk associated with a certain course of action which has been given full consideration prior to making the decision to pursue action. This is usually done when the potential gain is greater than any potential damage that might occur.”

For example the insurance industry is designed around calculated risk. Car insurance companies base their rates on how likely you are to file a claim in the future, and they use a number of varying factors to determine that risk such as Driving History, Demographics, Your Credit-Based Insurance Score, Occupation, Location and lastly the type of Vehicle you drive. Taking all of these factors into account and Calculating these Risks they are able to determine the quote which they provide you with.

When it comes to risks you won’t win every time even when they are calculated and avoiding risks will definitely limit your chances of success. It’s impossible to know the future and the outcome of anything unless you have supernatural powers (if only). Before you take risks, always carefully calculate everything. Outweigh the pros and cons. If the pros are extensive, it makes sense to take such a risk, especially if it means the possibility of profit or growth. If you want to take a risk then make sure that the worst outcome is bearable, minimize issues that may arise whenever possible and have a plan B. If risks aren’t for you, try them in small doses. Try a test run before taking a big leap or a hot-air balloon ride before a bungee jump. This will allow you to see the possible outcome before the impact is too monumental.

Remember that sometimes a risk may turn out to be a setback. The challenge is to move forward while actively seeking and managing your calculated risks. There are no guarantees but it pays to learn from the others who have forged paths before you like Harley-Davidson, Apple and Google to name a few, they took risks that paid off big (see further reading).

I’ll leave you with this quote: “Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk, and to act.” Maxwell Maltz

Further Reading: 8 Risky Business Investments That Paid Off Big:

http://www.onlinebusinessdegree.org/2012/06/26/8-risky-business-investments-that-paid-off-big/

Sources:

http://www.investorwords.com/19256/calculated_risk.html

http://www.dmv.org/insurance/how-auto-insurance-companies-calculate-risk.php

http://www.forbes.com/sites/martinzwilling/2014/08/27/10-startup-calculated-risks-that-lead-to-success/

About Sasha Anderson

I enjoy making new professional acquaintances and corresponding with existing clients. Reach out if you want to talk, L2B, social media, construction, technology, shoes, dachshunds, popular culture or travel.

The Game of Risk

The Game of Risk

 

It is said that you cannot escape two things in life. Death and taxes. But there is one other factor that people do not perhaps think of. Risk. It is inherent to living. To climb into a vehicle and drive anywhere has the potential of an accident taking place. To not exercise and expect your health to be tip top in the long term is a risky affair. To climb on a skateboard and head down a hill of steep gradient increases the risk of doing physical damage to yourself (although some may argue that psychological damage may have already occurred if you are partaking in such activities).

As it is in our daily living, so it is in business. Just to start a business comes with some pretty big risk. According to Bloomberg 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months. That’s some pretty risky business. Calculated risk is defined as “a chance of failure, the probability of which is estimated before some action is taken”.  From this statistic we can see that calculated risk is not necessarily a science. But with the percentage of businesses that do succeed and thrive, it is clear that the risk can be worth the reward. As Louis Pasteur said “Chance favours the prepared mind”.  With that in mind, what kind of business risks can you potentially face?

 

According to Wikipedia, Business risk can be classified in the following groups :

  • Strategic risk: the risk associated with the operations in the particular industry arising from the Business Environment, Transactions and Investor relations.
  • Financial risk: The risk associated with the financial structure and transactions of the particular industry.
  • Operational risk: risk associated with the operational and administrative procedures in a particular industry.
  • Compliance (Legal) risk: The risk associated with the need to comply to rules and regulations of the government.
  • Other risks : There would be risks like natural disaster and others that depend upon the nature and scale of the industry.

 

So why would anyone in their right mind want to take this kind of risk? I guess for the same reason you would want to ride downhill on a skateboard. You love it and it drives you (excuse the pun). In my (limited) experience it seems that when successful people are questioned about their success there are some factors that are mentioned frequently.

  1. Have good people close to you who will be honest and keep you grounded
  2. Have the right tools to work with
  3. Be patient
  4. Be persistent

 

Benjamin Franklin once said “Energy and persistence conquer all things”. I think there is something in that. Like a friend mentioned “You only see an opportunity if you look up”.  Yes, risk is inherent. Yes, the chance you may fail is present. But then – look up – so is the chance that you may be a wild success if you are willing to take a calculated risk.

Now wouldn’t that be a rush. So, I am off to hop on a skateboard ….  What are you going to be doing?

 

About Carmen Barends

Social Media adventurer exploring new frontiers and learning how to survive. Tongue in cheek and mischief are the order of any good day topped with a sprinkling of laughter.