July 2014 Risk Can Make Sense

Salient co-hosts a breakfast session in Newcastle NSW for 100 managers and specialists on the topic: “Risk Can Make Sense”.

“Why would someone do that? What were they thinking?” “They should have known better”  “We must get rid of all the risks.”
These are some common responses I have heard after a safety incident.
How can we make better sense of risk?

People are wonderfully complex. They see the world differently from each other, and there isn’t a ‘common sense’ that is shared by everyone all the time.  Leading people requires understanding, whether it is in the arenas of safety, productivity improvements, innovation or in achieving any other purpose.
In our work at Salient we have stressed that understanding the social processes in organisations is just as important as understanding commercial or technical processes.
“If leaders do not understand people and how they view the world, they will fail.
If they do understand people they have a chance to engage the knowledge and
creativity embodied in every one
Systems Leadership: Creating Positive Organisations. Macdonald, Burke & Stewart.

This is so true in the approach of leaders to risk and safety.
I’ve become increasingly concerned in recent years that people in organisations are:

  • struggling to retain a healthy and honest approach to risk and learning,
  • being flooded with rules and systems,
  • switching off and not thinking,
    … and are therefore at greater risk.

Working in partnership with Rob Sams (Dolphin Safety Solutions) and Framework,
Salient presents an introduction to the work of Dr Rob Long.  Dr Long specializes in ‘culture, learning and risk’ and has recently written three books on the subject of risk from a social psychology viewpoint.