Now the election for Leader of the Labour Party is behind us and the Annual Conference is nearly over, I have been able to consider the risks the Party is facing and how they might apply in your business. One risk in particular.
What is that Risk?
I do not mean the risk of a Corbyn-led government and how it could damage your business. I mean that all the calls for unity and the desire to ‘put our differences behind us’ sound a bit one sided. Many people fear that this means simply that Jeremy’s critics should keep quiet and appear to support whatever he says. It is alleged that, despite his gentle manner, Jeremy is not good at listening to people who disagree with him. He is too good at listening to echoes of his own voice, which he takes as confirmation of his universal popularity.
What has this got to do with managing risks in your business?
One of the problems consultants encounter is that business owners and senior managers tend to hear only what they want to hear. Or perhaps what they expect to hear. They think loyalty and support from colleagues means unqualified agreement. They fail to see the need for a critical friend. That is unfortunate, since that is exactly what a Risk Management consultant should be.
Are you listening?
I have recently spoken to a few letting agents and even the odd landlord. Whilst I think most of the risks they face are similar to those for a lot of other businesses, I thought it worthwhile listing the main areas they need to be concerned with. If any of you want to go into these in more detail, please get in touch.
Risk Management for Landlords
Fire, Storm, Theft, Accidental Damage, Malicious Damage
NB Empty Property Risks
Public Liability Risks
Landlord and Tenant
Complaints by tenants and complaints about tenants
General Third Party (Negligence)
Disability and other discrimination
Maintenance records, complaints records, photos
Cyber Risk, Data Protection
Backups, IT Security, Housekeeping, Tenancy agreements
Rent levels, Collection Arrangements, Accounts, Tax
Controlling costs. cash flow
I am in the process of writing a detective novel but, as many of you will know, I have still been speaking and writing about risk management.
I have also been writing about faith. I have just finished producing a book which will soon be published. It is called How to Cope with the Church.
It is for people who are not sure about their faith and for people who have problems with the Bible, prayer or aspects of Church life.
If you are interested, or know someone who is, go to http://johnharveymurray.co.uk/blog/2016/09/04/how-to-cope-with-the-church/
List Price: 3.00
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
ISBN-13: 978-1537365039 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
BISAC: Religion / Christian Life / General
If you are a determined atheist this book is not for you. If you are strong in the faith it is not for you either. If you are somewhere in between, if you have problems with Church, Bible reading, prayer, if you have not been for a while and are nervous about going back, if you have doubts and questions and do not like to ask, then this book could be just what you need. John Harvey Murray shares insights gained from experience in many different churches on the journey of faith and life. If he can cope, so can you.
It is not expensive: three pounds.
Also on Kindle where it is even less expensive at 99p
I will be writing again about my novel when it is more nearly finished.
I recently heard someone saying that children these days do not seem to show as much awe and wonder at the marvellous creatures that they see in the zoo as ‘we’ did. I am not sure who ‘we’ included, but never mind.
I can think of two reasons why this remark may hold some truth.
- Children these days do not want to show too much ‘awe and wonder’ at anything as it is not cool, so they say.
- Children have seen lots of wildlife documentaries and are better prepared than some previous generations for the sight of amazing animals.
At one time, most adults, let alone children, would not have seen foreign animals in the flesh. At best they might have seen a picture in a book or a painting in a gallery.
During the American Civil War there was an expression ‘To See the Elephant’, meaning to experience a battle. The point of the metaphor was that anyone who had not been in a battle could not know what it was like. No description did it justice. [Sorry if you are a War Poet or even a War Correspondent: I did not invent the expression!] In the same way, if you had never seen an elephant, no description quite conveyed what one was like, but once you had seen one you knew.
No, that’s not an elephant!
Sometimes the problem for a risk management consultant is to enable his client to see what the risk is. It may sound unrealistic orit may sound trivial. If it has never happened to you, it may be hard to imagine how it would affect you or your business.
That is why you may need a consultant.
PS To see how this issue applies to other areas of life, go to my other site, www.johnharveymurray.co.uk/blog
I sometimes am asked how I can take Risk Management seriously when I am a person of faith. Or to put it another way, how I can be serious about having faith when I practice Risk Management.
Surely, if events are in God’s hands, they are beyond management by us humans?
I was pleased recently to find an example in the Bible of the early Christians taking practical measures to deal with a known risk in response to information provided by a prophet.
I read in The Book of the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 11 verses 27 to 30 that a prophet called Agabus in the city of Antioch foretold a great famine which was to happen in the reign of the Emperor Claudius. The Christians responded not by praying it would not happen but by arranging a collection to provide funds to help those worst affected when it occurred.
So they saw no contradiction between believing in their faith and in taking practical steps to reduce the risk they foresaw.
I am glad I am in good company. Yet many people who profess any or no faith fail to take simple precautions to deal with risks they can reasonably foresee. How about you?
We have recently been reminded that this is the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Great Fire of London of 1666. It was obviously a major event at the time, affecting many people’s lives. Some of the effects can be observed today, such as the many buildings dating from the time just after the Fire. St Paul’s Cathedral is the most obvious example.
But is it relevant to us now?
Surely it is irrelevant to present-day about fire prevention or fire-fighting? Technology has moved on enough to make almost anything we might learn from 1666 redundant.
There are two lessons we could do well to learn.
- The fire was allowed plenty of time to develop and spread. The authorities were very slow to act. You could apply that to almost any risk. Even if you can not prevent something, you can usually mitigate its effects by prompt action.
- The one thing that was done that was effective, eventually, was to create firebreaks. Buildings were pulled down and some were set on fire, so that when the fire reached them there was nothing to burn. That is a lesson specific to controlling fires, but it also reinforces the first point. Even if you take action late, doing something can often still help mitigate the damage. Never give up.
I have written about various aspects of the Jermy Corbyn Risk. Now it seems the Labour Party is making another big mistake. One similar to that too often made by businessmen and others in managing risks.
Owen Smith seems to be trying to win potential Corbin supporters as he campaigns for the leadership. Owen keeps sounding like a left winger. It is arguable that that is the best way to win this contest. Perhaps.
The problem is, that Labour will at some time need to win votes from people who did not vote Labour last time. Of course, that includes some people for whom Labour was too moderate or right-wing before. But they will not be likely to be numerous enough to get many more Labour MPs elected.
In other words, the Party seems to be about to make the same mistake again.
What has that got to do with you and your Risk Management issues?
All too often, we deal with one risk in such a way as to merely move the problem around, reducing the risk in one area while increasing it in another.
- You might move hazardous material from one unsuitable site to another.
- You might bring in safety measures that in themselves make life more dangerous. I have seen warning signs placed in such a way as to become hazards.
- You might transfer some underperforming staff to another department, where they will be just as unproductive as before.
Perhaps you need an independent view. Just ask.
I have just heard that churches are being advised to step up their security.
CCTV should be installed and there should be only one unlocked entrance and exit.
This is because, after the murder of a priest in France, it is feared that a similar event could occur here.
- Obviously, it is sensible for every organisation to periodically review its security arrangements. I do, however question the logic behind this particular piece of advice.
- Terrorists have been known to attack a wide variety of targets: the World Trade Centre, the London Underground and buses, a concert venue, a magazine’s offices, aand most recently a beach.
- I remember the IRA attacking the London Docklands, the centre of Manchester, and a crowded street here in Warrington.
Where will they strike next? Do you think they will keep on attacking the most likely targets, whatever they are? What would you do if you were a terrorist? What’s next?
Anyway, whilst CCTV might help the authorities identify a terrorist after the event, it provides not much protection. Suicide bombers would certainly not be bothered. Anyone might come into any church with a concealed weapon or even a small bomb. It is unrealistic as well as undesirable to expect visitors or newcomers to be subject to vetting.
I am not trying to frighten you, but I am asking for some common sense. Balance the risk against the cost, not just in financial terms.
If we try to make everywhere totally safe we will be bound to fail, but we will change our Society for the worse. The Enemy will have gained a victory I would rather deny him.
Keep calm and carry on!