By Richard Chambers | September 13, 2017
My blog post is a bit delayed this week because of the unwelcome visit to Central Florida by Hurricane Irma. Like the thousands of people in Texas affected recently by Hurricane Harvey, families in several areas of South Florida, particularly the Florida Keys, face weeks and months of rebuilding. And, sadly, there were losses of life, though thankfully it was limited.
I am relieved that, despite widespread power outages, flooding, and property damage, our IIA Headquarters staff emerged safely from the storm and our offices reopened today to serve our global members.
It is often said that we manage risks every day in our personal lives. Whether we are deciding on insurance coverage for our homes or automobiles or investment strategies for retirement, we are constantly evaluating potential risks and making decisions that will mitigate them based on our personal appetites for risks.
As I reflect on the past week, I can’t help but think about all of the decisions I made in preparation for the potential arrival of Hurricane Irma. While I was consciously thinking about risks, or defining or making decisions as I do as a CEO in my professional capacity, I was nonetheless very much in a risk management mode not unlike that modeled on a corporate level by COSO or ISO.
I recognize that I was guided by an overarching objective: to weather the looming hurricane as safely and comfortably as possible with minimal property damage. Every key decision I made was guided by the potential risks that could undermine that overall objective. In the end, I made a number of crucial decisions that turned out to be prudent. And, as is often the case in the world of business, I made a few costly decisions to minimize risks that, fortunately, didn’t materialize.
Let’s take a look back at the week that was:
I’m sharing my experiences to illustrate how natural it is to manage risks when faced with a potential crisis. Throughout the week, I was faced with crucial decisions. Should we evacuate, or stay behind and weather the storm? Should I spend money on a generator, or take my chances that we would not lose electrical power? Should I dedicate an afternoon to installing hurricane shutters, or hope the storm would take a westerly track and miss the eastern Florida coast?
As in the world of business, I can now look back on the week and reflect on the decisions I made. Some were prudent, some were not. For example, we ended up with much more bottled water than we needed, but we will use it eventually. Overall, I was pleased with the way I managed the risks. My objective was met: We weathered Hurricane Irma “as safely and comfortably as possible with minimal property damage.”
I would like to hear your experiences on managing risks on a personal basis.