Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ASQ Influential Voices: Everyday Risk Management

In the ASQ blog this month, Sunil Kaushik writes about how he successfully applied Lean principles when taking a recent trip to Egypt.  It's another reminder of how well business innovation concepts can apply to our everyday life.

One popular management technique is to conduct a "lessons learned" or "postmortem" after key initiatives/projects.  It's a great way to learn from past mistakes - the only problem is that it's done after the project has already "died", so to speak. An even better approach is a "premortem".

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, so the saying goes.  So why not do everything possible to ensure our success in advance.  Whether it's a new diet, a new relationship, a new home project, a new subject, or a new program for your child.  We want to minimize the risk of failure; so let's bravely anticipate it upfront.

That's exactly what a premortem attempts to do... asking us to imagine all the possible obstacles, challenges, or ways that our new initiate might fail.  Imagine yourself looking into the future; what would the newspaper headline read?  By forcing ourselves to anticipate all the potential failure points, it gives us an early-warning system.

Focus on those specific risks that are the most likely and/or most severe - then come up with a couple key mitigation strategies - be creative!  Good risk management goes well beyond the boardroom... we know that obstacles in life are inevitable - so let's anticipate and counteract them.

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