24 May 2023

Memorial Day USA: Risk Serving Those Who Serve...

On this Memorial Day weekend in the United States; we need a revived and committed public to "Serving Those Who Serve."

Thousands of veterans are continuously finding out what it means to serve in a time of war and then face many of the challenges of returning home. To family, friends and a new career.

There are dozens of new ways you can "Serve Those Who Serve" and we are not just talking about the number of new charitable organizations. These new ways to assist veterans are increasing on a daily basis. The consumer and the corporation need to address the Operational Risks associated with volunteering time, resources and funds as you choose your respective facet of serving.

For those who have a focus on turning those vital military skill-sets towards those victims of our global disasters and growing nation state discourse, there are organizations such as Team Rubicon.

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with medical professionals to rapidly deploy emergency response teams into crisis situations. 

Team Rubicon Saves Lives.

Since its creation in January 2010, TR has impacted thousands of lives – in Haiti, Chile, Burma, Pakistan, Sudan, Ukraine, and here at home, in Vermont, Maryland, Missouri, California, Alabama and so many others. TR reaches victims outside the scope of where traditional aid organizations venture; victims on the fringe. 

Team Rubicon Engages Veterans.

Hundreds of US military veterans, many returning home after fighting years of war, find a renewed sense of purpose for their skills and experiences through TR.

I’m not a veteran or a medical professional…how can I volunteer for Team Rubicon? 

"While Team Rubicon responds to natural disasters in the US and around the world, disasters are not all that they do. Throughout the year Team Rubicon conducts community service projects, fundraisers, and outreach to potential supporters and donors. These are a few examples where TR can utilize the expertise of the following skills: event organizers, fundraisers, training specialists, graphic designers, photographers, video editing specialists, and administrative specialists."

Team Rubicon's slogan "Bridging the Gap" is a theme that all of us can use as a basis for this 2023 Memorial Day celebration and beyond. How can you serve those who serve with the skills and assets you possess, to make a difference? 

Maybe it is the Wounded Warrior Project, Got Your 6, Tunnel to Towers Foundation or even Dogs on Deployment.

Remembering those who have died for their country to preserve our way of life is what much of what Memorial Day is all about.

Using Charity Navigator as a tool to find out more about who you are working with or donating your money to, will be a good first step. Yet this is only one way to determine what the right place for your particular interests, skills and resources may be. This will give you more information on how a charity is utilizing your donated dollar and how much goes to overhead or executives administration.

So how will you make a difference? What will you do, to "Serve Those Who Serve"? Why are you doing it? Once you answer these questions, you will be well on your way to a more fulfilling life. What ever it may be or where ever you may find yourself, never forget. Never forget why we serve:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

13 May 2023

Mothers Day 2023: Always With Us...

“God is in this story, God is in the details

Even in the broken parts, He holds my heart, He never fails

When I'm at my weakest, I will trust in Jesus

Always in the highs and lows, the One who goes before mе

God is in this story. “

This music and chorus from Katy Nichole’s song brings tears to the eyes each time it plays and/or we sing the lyrics.

On this glorious day before a Sunday and another “Mothers Day” in the United States, we think of all of our Mothers in our lives.

When you are a Mother, you have your own story to share as a Daughter. As a Son of a women who raised you, who taught you and loved you, the story might be a bit similar.

Yet when you as a son then become a Father, your insights and context is enhanced, on what being a “Mother” is really all about.

When you witness your own baby being born, you truly understand why “God is in this story”.

Tomorrow we recognize and celebrate our “Mothers” in our USA nation, who have cared for us, raised us and given us all the real opportunities in our future lives.

With the perspective of a Son who had a Mother that married a young U.S. Marine and was so wonderful during my 58 years with her, she was just so talented, so caring and so proud of her “First born son”, she has never left my thoughts. She is still dearly missed.

With the perspective of a Father with 37 years with my only Wife and a Mother of our Daughter and our Son who are 19 months apart, this story still continues.

The journey of life and witnessing Mothers in labor, Mothers in the Nursery, Mothers in Schools, Mothers in the Home and even a wife working and taking care of her own 94 year-old mom provides tremendous context to this day.

As the first son of a life long Artist and a graduate of Northwestern and also Cranbrook, her pieces have always adorned our home. As a youngster, the memories of being with my sister in the basement studio of a small one-story house on a short dirt road or with Mom at her Art Exhibits at the Art Center in our small Mid-Western town, still are with me forever.

Yet today, glancing again at this painting of hers on our wall, still makes me wonder what she was thinking or praying about, as her brush dipped into her paint that morning. What her hopes and prayers were for all of her own children, a Son, a Daughter, a Son & a Son.

On this memorable Mothers Day 2023 you are always with us Mom, we shall cherish and celebrate all of you excellent ladies…thank you for all your love and prayers.  ”God is in this story, God is in the details”

07 May 2023

Volatility: Enemy #1…

Organizations implement Operational Risk solutions to lower "volatility" in earnings growth and return on capital. The focus on volatility is because no institution likes to see peaks and valleys in their earnings or their return on capital.

A steady and consistent growth curve without "Volatility" is the goal by many steadfast organizations.

Contrary to the goal of minimized "volatility" there are also those who feed off of the chaos and the large swings between these highs and lows in the marketplace and with specific companies in vital sectors of the financial economy. Will another Blueprint for Regulatory Reform be the answer?

As a hedge fund investor, can you explain what the strategy is for your investment fund? Do you know what your money is being invested in?

Does your hedge fund manager provide transparency on calculating your return on funds invested? What was the reason you invested in alternative investments to begin with?

Carrying this analogy to the operational processes within your organization, the goal is to keep the processes running smoothly. When people or systems deviate from the agreed upon "Rule Sets" then change ensues along with the volatility of the performance measures.

Errors, Omissions and systemic "glitches" are the catalysts to volatility that creates fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Do you understand the Math? When the process gets to this stage and people don't trust the rules anymore, you are on the brink of a failure and impending loss, in dollars and/or peoples lives.

Operational Risk Management is a discipline that is remerging in our corporate ranks because it has already proven that it saves lives. The regulators and inspector generals are going to raise it’s mandate within our institutional ranks once again.

The "Rule Sets" of playing business in the financial, health care and energy sectors are not the only ones being subjected to this increased scrutiny and renewed focus on OPS Risk as lessons were learned over 15 years ago:

“In March of 2008, the Department of Defense learned that four non-nuclear nose cone assemblies and their associated electrical components for a ballistic missile where mistakenly shipped to Taiwan in the fall of 2006. These items were originally shipped in March 2005 from F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming to the Defense Logistics Agency warehouse at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. There are no nuclear or fissile materials associated with these items.

Upon learning of the error, the U.S. government took immediate action to acquire positive control of the components and arranged for their safe and secure recovery to the United States. These items have been safely returned to the United States.”

After this event, lessons learned and “After-Action-Reports” were generated in the ranks of the U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Defense all relating to the failure of People, Processes, Systems and or External events.

Operational Risk is all around us and continuously ready for prime time focus in terms of our leadership strategy execution, implementation and measurement.

Whether you utilize Operational Risk Management (ORM) in the Defense Industrial Base or in another Critical Infrastructure sector in the United States, it’s important to revisit what it is NOT:

Operational Risk is Not:

  • About avoiding risk
  • A safety only program
  • Limited to complex-high risk evolutions
  • A program -- but a process
  • Only for on-duty
  • Just for your boss
  • Just a planning tool
  • Automatic
  • Static
  • Difficult
  • Someone else’s job
  • A well kept secret
  • A fail-safe process
  • A bunch of checklists
  • Just a bullet in a briefing guide
  • “TQL”
  • Going away

The goal of Risk Management is not to eliminate risk, but to manage risk so the mission can be accomplished with minimum impact...