18th December 2018

Positive thinking at the baggage drop

On arriving at the airport yesterday, I groaned inwardly as I joined the long queue to the bag-drop – the familiar start of another long journey. Still, I told myself, look on the bright side… at least we’re all moving at the same pace. Multiple queues would undoubtedly have been worse (don’t we always find ourselves in the slowest one?).

Which led me to reflect on an initiative I was involved with many years ago: the introduction of single queuing in UK post offices (how very British!). The new system was trialled, if I recall, in Brighton in 1989 and as a “queuing” nation we have never looked back.

This seems an unlikely start to my career in the risk profession. Like so many people in the risk world, I seemed to “fall” into the job by accident. The company I joined 30 years ago was Risk Decisions and I’m still here now.

Although I had a number of job options, it was Risk Decisions that most intrigued me. It sounded so much more interesting and exciting than anything else I looked at. The name intrigued me, the role I was taken on for (uncertainty modelling for the Post Office) fascinated me. My colleagues (work and customer) sounded interesting, the job sounded challenging.

However, almost immediately, I found myself having to explain myself to friends and family. Risk Decisions? What does that mean? What do you do? My partner assumed I was either involved in health & safety, insurance or possibly working on the board game to conquer the world. It was difficult to explain back then and hasn’t got much easier over the years. I had to resist apologising for being in risk when introducing myself.

You see, people tend to view risk negatively and (sadly) switch off at its first mention. So, it’s my job to help people think positively (and as early as possible) when they encounter some uncertainty. Because the sooner you decide what to do about that uncertainty, the sooner you can relax and get on with all the other important things that need doing.

I understand that risk-based decision-making is difficult to comprehend as a job. It can’t be pigeon-holed into a particular industry sector, department or discipline. You see, as a risk professional, I tackle anything and everything. It’s my job to help find positive outcomes based on the uncertainties we face, being proactive, making decisions that shape the future.

At Risk Decisions, we have recently been thinking about how risk professionals are enablers. Not only do we enable businesses to be in business. We help shape the future of so many exciting initiatives.

Almost everyone I know working in risk find their jobs interesting and rewarding. They are passionate about what they do. It’s a job where you can make a difference. Next time you find yourself in a queue, think risk and be positive.

If positive risk-based decision-making is something you would like to learn more about, get in touch and we would love to discuss it!