How many cliche’s are there that talks about identifying something after the event occurs.

  • Hindsight is 20/20
  • We couldn’t see the forest for the trees
  • If you didn’t want to go to Chicago, why did you get on the train?

I believe a lot of the reasons the risks were not identified up front was based on how the issue/event/process (known as a “concept” for the rest of the posting)  was framed at presentation. 

Paul Slovic, a professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon indicates that studies show two ways we perceive risk:

  1. An automatic, intuitive system
  2. A more thoughtful analysis system

According to Slovic “our perception of risk lives largely in our feelings, so most of the time we are operating on system number 1.”

SO, if the ”concept” is offered showing all the positive with either no or a minimal down side, we are more likely to accept all the positives and ignore the negatives of the undertaking.   

Another reason may be that the perception is the person presenting the idea has already identified all the things that could possibly go wrong and has prepared contingencies for them. 

A third reason is that we just don’t want to consider something going wrong , if we don’t acknowledge it, it doesn’t exist.

Unfortunately none of these reasons can actually make any negative impact go away.  

It is important for an organization to consider both the up and down sides and that’s where Risk Management comes in.