Managing Risk: "Can You Sleep When the Wind Blows?"
One of the most misunderstood and under-rated of team roles is the role of the team checker. This is the person in the team who every now and again calls everyone to a halt and says, "Hey guys, we're running a risk here and need to do something about it". It's a role that many of today's financial institutions overlooked when times were good and subsequently lived to regret not having had or listening to. Had they listened, they would have saved themselves a lot of money and in some cases, even saved their businesses. To explain the role of the Checker, here is a fable from Renee Rich called, "Can You Sleep When the Wind Blows?".
"Can You Sleep When the Wind Blows?": the Fable
There was once a farmer who had been frantically looking, without success, for a hired hand. Finally, a young man showed up at his door and said, "I hear you've been looking for help."
"I sure have", replied the farmer. "What do you do? Can you drive a tractor?"
"Nope", answered the young man.
"How about a milking machine?"
"Never been anywhere near one of them," answered the lad.
The farmer continued his questions but after hearing no positive anwers, finally asked, "Well, what can you do?"
"I can sleep when the wind blows," said the young man.
The farmer was in no mood for joking and almost told the young fellow to be on his way. But the lad seemed so genuine and he needed help so badly, that he decided to give him a try.
A week or so later the farm was hit by a ferocious storm in the middle of the night. Hail, rain, and gales stormed against the farm windows and doors. The farmer flew out of bed and went to the young lad's bedroom but all efforts to rouse him from his sleep were like trying to awaken a sack of potatoes.
Furious with himself for having taken on so idle a youth, the farmer decided to take care of things himself. He rushed outdoors into the howling storm. But when he got to the barn the doors were shut and safely bolted. The animals were firmly tethered to their stalls. And the hay and feed, instead of being blown away by the wind, had been carefully covered under piles of securely fastened-down canvas. While the storm raged outside, the barn was safe, secure, and protected. It was then that the farmer knew what the young lad meant when he said, "I can sleep when the wind blows."
"Can You Sleep When the Wind Blows?": the Lessons
If you run anything in your life, whether a home, a business, or a unit of a bigger business, you'll recognise the moral of this story: always plan for the worst that can happen and put in place measures to protect your assets. No, it's not the most glamorous of your day's tasks. And often will not seem the most pressing. But you need a plan to manage the very worst that can happen to you. And then you need to do something to put this plan into action. Such as training your management team on control systems. Or making all your staff more aware of the risks. Or recruiting someone who can sleep when the wind blows.
"Can You Sleep When the Wind Blows?": Risk Management Training
If you want to improve your risk management, then you need business controls training for everyone from senior management to those who deliver services and products. Click here for an outstanding training package on Fraud Awareness and here for a free sampler on one of the seminars in the package, "Why Fraud Awareness?".