Now that we have started a new tear, I thought this a good time to remind companies why it is important to be proactive & plan when it comes to risk management in terms of HR training, making organizational changes, or even just re-checking your business insurance which is why I am featuring a reprise of a popular post about risk management.
One day earlier this week, I took a break from working at home and walked my dog to get some coffee at our local Peets. Before going inside I tied him up to a bench right outside as I usually do [he's the Peets "pastry-taster-in-chief" so this enables him to do his "job";--inhaling pastry crumbs]. I then noticed another dog, a pit bull mix, circling him. This dog was about twice his size and off leash. I am not someone who believes dogs should always be on a leash but location is everything. It's just common sense. Peets is not a place where any dog should be off leash. There are too many variables at play-other dogs, [fearful] adults, children, street noise, and of course food that could trigger an undesirable event between dogs. When I went inside, I found the owner of the dog and asked him if he would please put his dog on a leash. What was his reply? No he's fine. When I explained that his dog was circling mine [and I do not mean to initiate play], he was still unmoved and remained just as certain that nothing would happen. Unprovoked, my dog has been attacked by other large dogs both off and on a leash before [also why I don't like extender leashes] so I asked him why he would want to wait for something to happen before intervening He maintained his position so though frustrated & resigned, I relocated my dog out of his dog's sight line. I couldn't get the owner to behave responsibly so it was either leave or adjust. While I would never call my dog angelic [far from it], the truth is that when at Peets he is simply not interested in other dogs. He is far more interested in getting every little crumb he possibly can and then polishing the stones on the ground just in case he's missed a microscopic one. As you can see, he comes by his nickname Hoover honestly. On the other hand, if he thought another dog might also be interested in those same crumbs, the "Boston Terrorist" in him would definitely emerge. The problem is like most small dogs, he's "big on attitude and short on follow through." A pit bull would eat him for a mid-day snack.
An "Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure"
What's the point to this story and what in the world does it have to do with consulting? Many times when I am out networking at business functions and I tell executives that one of the services my company provides is HR training, I frequently hear things like "yeah, we 'should' do that, it's so expensive, I usually sleep, or we only do what the government tells us we have to do." On the other hand, right after events like 9/11 or Columbine or if an employer is sued; suddenly they get religion and can't get enough training. Basically, like the other dog's owner at Peets, until something bad happens, "their 'dog' [read: business] is fine too." Ironically if asked, most responsible business owners know that advanced planning as a hedge against certain risks is essential and almost standard operating procedure. Why? Because prevention or quick action when an untoward event occurs, is far less expensive than paying for a "cure." Since we are within weeks of first month of the year, it's worth reviewing your risk management and HR training plans now. Or like the guy at Peets, you'll find yourself "waiting for a fire to burn down your business before installing a $100 fire extinguisher!" Of course you will have to re-locate & re-build your business first,
Originally published, Jan.25,2008