Many people suffer from stress for various reasons. I know several people who offer to help relieve stress in different ways: massage, counselling, hypnotherapy, relaxation techniques. Risk Management is seldom put in the list.
Each of the above approaches and others can be helpful. Sometimes you just have to try it and see. What they have in common is that they help you manage your reaction to the situation. They do not try to resolve the situation. That is at least partly because stressful people will always find something to get stressed about and partly because it is useful to be able to deal with your stress if you encounter another stressful situation.
Is there not also a need to look at the factors in your situation which give rise to your stress?
Risk Management can be a big help.
- It can help you to understand the problems better.
- It can give you an appreciation of the likelihood and the potential severity of the thing that you don’t want to happen.
- It can help you see what you can do about it. Yes you can!
- It can also help you to accept what cannot be helped and to face up to your risks with your eyes open.
There is another way in which I can help reduce stress in certain circumstances and I will be writing about that in future.
Meanwhile think if you want help managing stress AND managing the causes of stress.
Get in touch. 01925 445215 or 07726 490639
The recent Traingate affair has made me think of another type of risk. Let us look at the story.
- For some time Jeremy Corbyn has been drawing attention to various problems on the railways. He is not alone in his concerns.
- He has advocated investing more money into the infrastructure and into the rolling stock. Many people of all political parties and none agree.
- He has advocated renationalising the network. That is certainly an option worth considering and should be debated sensibly. Many people who believe in the free market in general believe this could be an exception.
- He has used overcrowding as an example of the shortcomings of the present arrangements. I can personally confirm that it is an issue, as can many people who use the railways.
- He has tried to illustrate his argument by making a video of himself on a train.
- In this instance, there appear to have been vacant seats. This could be because it is August when the railways are at their quietest. Not the best time to make the video.
- Jeremy has been taken to task for claiming there were no vacant seats when there were. He allegedly sat on the floor, unnecessarily, merely to make his point.
- When challenged, he and his supporters vigorously defended his position, claiming Virgin Trains were lying when they said there were seats available.
You may notice that many people would have agreed with his overall points, but disapproved of his apparent dishonesty.
- I do not intend to give an opinion on the truth or otherwise of the story, as I know only what has been reported.
- I am concerned that the whole debate has moved away from the state of the railways, which is, or should be, a major issue. It has become focussed on Jeremy’s behaviour.
So what has any of this got to do with Risk Management?
- I have found it all too easy for anyone to get distracted from a serious risk or other problem and to become focussed on such things as how the issue came to light or what we should have done some time in the past.
- I have also found that managers can have rightly identified a risk and been well on schedule to finding suitable controls when they make a mistake in the presentation of their case and lose the support they need from colleagues or others.
How easily sidetracked are you? Do you start well and later go off the rails?
Perhaps an independent review could help drive things forward. What signals do you see?
Some people think the right place to begin reading a book is at the beginning. That is not always so. It is unfortunate that the first two chapters of the Bible, that is the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, are perhaps the most offputting for many people today. That is because they contain the story of the Creation of the World, and of the rest of the Universe.
If you find this account unbelievable, as most people do, you may find it difficult to take the rest of the Bible seriously.
There are six things I do not believe about the Creation Story which you may find worth considering.
- I do not believe you have to hold any particular view of Creation before you can be a Christian. There have been over the years Christians who have held many different views of Creation, as there are today. Some believe Genesis 1 and 2 completely literally, others see them as metaphors, whilst still others regard them as of no relevance at all.
- I do not believe the Bible was written as a scientific textbook. Its theme is God and Mankind. God’s relationship with Mankind, or Man’s relationship with God, if you prefer. It is full of insights into ourselves and how we should live. To miss all that because you do not accept the Bible’s view of how the World began is to rob yourself of something of immeasurable value.
- I do not believe science and the Bible have to be enemies. I have only a limited knowledge of science, but I do value the contributions made to our understanding of ourselves and our World by various disciplines. None of them can ever make the Bible redundant. They do not address the same themes.
- I do not believe Genesis 1 and 2 were ever intended to be taken literally. I am assured by biblical scholars that the language of those two chapters is poetic. You do not write scientific treatises in poetry. Poets take liberties with facts in order to present deeper truths. If you can accept that the word ‘day’ was not intended to mean twenty-four hours, but ‘period’ or ‘phase’ and thus could embrace millions of years, the rest of the story begins to look an awful lot more credible.
- I do not believe the human writer of Genesis had scientific knowledge far ahead of his time. Whether that was Moses or not, they were written long after the Creation but long before most modern scientific discoveries. So the writer could not have known what happened in much detail. I suppose he went into a trance and had a vision, like a lot of the prophets in the Bible. He probably struggled to make sense of what he saw. What we have is testimony to his great insight and ability.
- I do not believe the Creation Story is irrelevant. Although I have said that I do not believe you have to hold any particular view of this story, I believe there is an important truth in it that we should not overlook. God created the World, and the rest of the Universe. Not some other god or the Devil or anyone. It is His World and He knows how it should work. Follow the Maker’s instructions. That is true whether it took Him seven days or seven billion years.
So before you dismiss the Creation Story and then go on to dismiss the rest of the Bible, think about the six things I do not believe about it. Perhaps you will not believe them either.
Early indicators show a downturn in various sectors of the UK economy since the vote to leave the EU. Several interpretations have been offered.
- It is a fulfilment of the most pessimistic predictions of the Remain campaign. We are heading for a recession.
- It was coming anyway. The Good Times created by George Osborne are over. We are heading for a recession.
- It is just a blip and everything will be OK soon.
Personally, I think it is too soon to say: I will wait and see.
For some none of this matters. They say:
- It is only certain sectors that will be affected: those which do business with the EU. These are mainly big businesses.
- You will be unaffected if you are in a business which trades only within the UK, especially small businesses.
- It will make no difference if you are in the Public Sector, are unemployed or retired.
It was this kind of thinking that led some people to vote Leave. They thought all the benefits of EU membership were felt only by the privileged few.
I have argued previously that this was unsound thinking and I wish to say so again. Economic forces are increasingly interconnected within the UK and indeed throughout the World. One thing leads to another. If there is a big downturn in any of the major sectors of the economy it will affect others remarkably quickly. House prices, rents, food prices, wages, job opportunities, pension funds, tax revenues, public spending – all will affect one another.
So we should all be concerned. I hope it is just a blip and I hope the Government will take sensible measures to protect the economy.
What has any of this to do with Risk Management?
One of the biggest and least acknowledged risks these days is the Supply Chain Risk which I have mentioned in previous blogs. It is worth mentioning again. Managing the risks in your business is a good start, but to really load the dice in your favour you need to look at the risks in and around the businesses you rely on for your supplies and support: purchases, IT, transport, security, property maintenance, and professional services of all kinds. Where would you be if any of them were to let you down?
What can you do about the way someone else manages their business?
- Think about the ‘what ifs’ and have contingency plans.
- Try not to be too reliant on one supplier.
- Think about how they manage risk when choosing a supplier.
Perhaps a chat with a Risk Management consultant would be a help?
You know where to find me!