31 December 2021

Disaster at 5280: Contingency Planning & Relief in 2022...

As our 737-900 descended over the Rockies into DEN yesterday, there was a clear view of the front range and the Boulder Flatirons in the distance. Snow storms were only 48 hours away, and yet as the extreme winds buffeted our plane we admired the city at 5280 ft.

Only a few hours later as we drove around NW Denver, the smoke started to became apparent. Little did we know that communities just North of us, were on the verge of an unpredictable local catastrophic disaster.

The winds had picked up and now you could sense something was very wrong with the wall of dark smoke blowing East at 75+ miles an hour.

Then we saw the local news about Superior, and the immediate evacuations as the roaring fire headed due East from Rt. 93 and the foothills just West of Superior and Louisville.

24+ hours later, it is still not quite over and we have witnessed 500-1000 homes and a hotel along with some other local businesses incinerated, as fire crews worked through the night to save lives and get people to safe havens.

Once you as a human, come so very close to pure disaster and witness the shear power of mother nature and her ability to devastate everything in her path, of the fire, and the wind or the water…you realize you are never going to be totally prepared.

In 2022, let us all agree, that we can only devote more time to understand, making more informed decisions and acting quickly to our respective rapidly changing events, incidents, threats and inevitable crisis.

Through every disaster across America, there are valuable “Lessons Learned” and for us as humans to respond in productive and heart felt outcomes.

Here are a few quick ideas that may be worthy of consideration with your family:

  1. How might you and yours set up a digital “Cloud” account in Box or Amazon or Google or Protonmail, to upload and place copies of your most vital personal .pdf or scanned documents, home insurance, tax records and even business/financial information?
  2. How might you place a fireproof lockbox/safe within your house to place physical documents, Passports, Birth Certificates and other unreplaceables (jewelry, medals, keys) or legal information that may take weeks or months to replace?
  3. How might you and your spouse/partner practice with other family members, in other cities across the country, on contingencies and family actions, just in case Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Floods or Wild Fires and even Earthquakes occur without warning?
  4. What types of insurance coverages have you added to your policies to include certain types of disaster scenarios, that have a likelihood of occurring in your particular geography?
  5. Once you have established the baseline for 1-4, how might you improve your planning by exchanging the plans with your other trusted family members and asking each other important remaining questions?

As the local “Denver News” helicopter flew over the remains of these neighborhoods this morning, one could only wonder why some houses were spared and others next door were completely gone with only a chimney remaining?

“Our First Responders and local businesses are still in the first 72 hours of this disaster and yet you can see the sorrow and the emotions on everyones faces.”

Colorado and other NGOs across America will assist in the days ahead and we will grow stronger and more prepared for our next crisis as the snow showers and storms finally arrive here…

Godspeed Colorado in 2022!

18 December 2021

Seasons Greetings and 2022...

We have learned a tremendous amount of new Operational Risk knowledge in 2021. As we celebrate this holiday season and move into 2022, it is imperative that we reflect on what we have learned.

We must take this new found knowledge and use it to mitigate the ever changing threats to our family, friends, institutions, organizations and business units.  To become even more Resilient.

We are reminded of the great book by Stan Davis and Jim Botkin titled The Monster Under the Bed. They talk about how Knowledge is information put to productive use.

And they talk about getting from Knowledge to Wisdom:
Wisdom: The ability to judge soundly and deal sagaciously with facts, especially as they relate to life and conduct; knowledge, with the capacity to make due use of it; perception of the best ends and the best means; discernment and judgment...
Operational Risk Management is about true knowledge management and so much more. It is about Learning, with the goal of gaining and retaining Wisdom.

It is about using advanced methods and technologies to detect threats far in advance, so that the proper risk mitigation strategies can be put in place.

Operational Risk Management remains an evolving discipline in our corporate institutions only because we have not yet decided on the exact taxonomy and definitions, for each facet of its breadth and rapidly changing depth.

Once we accomplish greater discipline, it will become more pervasive across most aspects of our business foundations.

From the Board Room to your Third-party risk management (TPRM), we will see Operational Risk Management (ORM) having a real impact on our collective “Wisdom".

Seasons Greetings and in 2022, we must all look for ways to gain more wisdom and to further develop the methods and systems for keeping our most precious assets safe and secure…

11 December 2021

R3: Team Leaders On The Front Lines…

Now that you and your team have finished the mission strategy planning for 2022, how might you simplify this for those on the front line who work outside the building?

When you really understand what the product/solution does and you truly believe the benefit of someone using it, now what?

Your team may know the strategy and the “Why now”, yet will you still be wondering where all of the budget allocations have gone, after the first six months of your budget cycle?

What if you focused on a small part of your team, who you might name your company “Operators”. 

You know, the people who are eager to get out the door everyday to go see and solve problems for themselves. The people that will be responsible for the implementation of the product, the tool, and the solution on the customers premises in their environment.

"The team of “Operators” in your organization who are actually accountable for the final results."

Hopefully your organization has at least a 3:1 ratio of “Operators” to “Bean Counters”.

3-Operators to 1-Bean Counter, just might give you a chance of making your mission strategy work.

In our global world of business these days, the relationships are your Ground Zero.

Without effective relationships that exist and are continuously building rapidly across your intended target zones, you will have a much longer wait for your positive and smiley face of EBITDA.

Developing and growing “Relationships” is perhaps one of your greatest Operational Risks ahead of you, as the Leader of your particular team.

Having learned a simple yet “Never Forget” acronym from a few very wise business instructors (Randy & Wendy) many years ago, consider this:

R3 = Relationships >>> Results >>> Revenue.

Guess what? It is something the “Operators” will actually understand and since you have 3 times more of these people on your front line team, they must have their own business strategy acronym that they will be able to remember and execute on:

  1. Operators that are developing meaningful and effective Relationships are your way to mission accomplishment.
  2. Operators who realize how to produce tangible Results that can be measured are your way to mission accomplishment with end users, customers and clients.
  3. Operators will see Revenue if #1 and #2 are successful.

R3 is your execution layer on top of the “Bean Counters” PEST, STEER, SWOT or any other planning acronym they might use in the “God Pod” upstairs or down a long corridor of the outside view offices in the E-ring.

In order for you as the field Team Leader, to truly better understand how to improve the “Revenue” and mitigate the Operational Risks in your business entity, you have got to get out on the front lines with your Operators.

To see and experience the real “Relationships” and the actual “Results”.

Where will your next “Senior Leader” tour of duty take you in the field of your Area of Responsibility (AOR)…

05 December 2021

Managing Operational Risks: On the Wall at 100 Ft...

After days taking in the magnificent sights at 100+ feet below the surface off Grand Cayman Island, we were reminded how Operational Risk Management is prevalent in even remote places like this.

Take for example the mandate for using dive computers, as a guest of Wall to Wall Diving. For those not initiated with Scuba Diving, you might not realize that "sensors" are utilized in measuring potential threats to your life from something called "The Bends", or decompression sickness.

Giles Charlton-Jones and his wife Deanna from Wall to Wall Diving use a combination of proven Operational Risk Management processes and tools to reduce the risks to their clients. They do this because their small business is no different than that of a Fortune 500 company. As the owners and primary shareholders of any organization, it is the law in most cases to provide Duty of Care.

Decompression sickness, (DCS), diver's disease, the bends, or caisson disease is the name given to a variety of symptoms suffered by a person exposed to a reduction in the pressure surrounding their body. It is a type of diving hazard.

Dive computers perform a continuous calculation of the partial pressure of gases in the body based on the actual dive profile. As the dive computer automatically measures depth and time, it reduces the need for the diver to carry a separate watch and depth gauge and is able to warn of excessive ascent rates and missed decompression stops.

Many dive computers also provide additional information to the diver, for example, the water temperature, or the pressure of the remaining breathing gas in the diving cylinder.

The key point is, that these sensors attached to each diver, help Deter and Detect potential threats associated with decompression sickness. This even includes a calculation when it is safe again to fly on an airplane.

Like other manufacturers in the high technology systems sector, SCUBA (Self-contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) has it's own champions of companies who focus on the latest tools and solutions to help you manage risks. Who plan for future threat scenarios based upon collected intelligence over years of experience.

Suunto is just one example of a Finnish company, who have been developing instruments for measurement and sensors for various outdoor pursuits. Whether it be on the mountain at 20,000 ft. or underwater at 125 ft..

Weather and our Earths environment will always play a part in the daily risks mountaineers and divers face and who are proactive with the use of the correct tools, so they can operate in a more safe and secure manner.

Yet without the investment with “True Professionals” who have years of the relevant training, decades of experience and brilliant intuition, all the best tools will never be quite enough.

“How often do you encounter situations where the new threat intelligence collected and the automatic warning alerts have not been enough, to keep you out of harms way?”

As a global Fortune 500 company, the Board of Directors represents the interests of shareholders, as oversight owners of the company, in optimizing value by overseeing management performance on the shareholders' behalf.

The Board of Directors responsibilities in performing this oversight function include a Duty of Care and a Duty of Loyalty.

A Director's Duty of Care, refers to the responsibility to exercise appropriate due diligence in overseeing the management of the company, while continuously making OPS Risk decisions and performing other vital mitigation actions.

It remains refreshing to witness that even on a small island in the British West Indies, that the owners/operators are true professionals who are applying the practice of “Operational Risk Management” (ORM) in their own small employee-owned business.

First, they utilize it each day because they are Professionals. Second, they do it instinctively, because they know that it can mean the difference between life and death or predictive harm in an organizations daily operations.

As we near the end of another year of growing risks in 2021, we say congratulations to all of you who have found the science of “Operational Risk Management”.

Thank you to all of you, who have applied your own professional services “Art”, to make our world, more safe and secure in 2022! Godspeed!