Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Risky business - Part 2

Read Part 1

As a project manager, part of my job is to manage risks. A risk is something that could happen. Well, anything could happen, right? What the project team does is identify the things that could go wrong, estimate out how likely they are and what the impact would be they did happen. Then we make an alternative plan to have in place if a risk does happen.

Let's say the project is to move a business from one location to another. Your current lease expires on a set date and you must vacate the property by that date. Your new location is being constructed, and the builder says it will be done on time. But what if it isn't? What's Plan B...Plan C...Plan D? That's risk management.

People like "Adventurer" Steve Fossett did a lot of risk management. When preparing for a round-the-world solo balloon flight, you sure better know where you can land if you have technical trouble or suddenly get sick! And yet it is possible that Fossett died because what he was doing that day was not as risky as his other adventures, so he may not have thoroughly planned for the potential risks.

Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Sure you get up in the morning and face the dangers of cars and icy roads and sidewalks, probably without even thinking about it much...buckle your seatbelt, drive more slowly than normal, wear the right kind of shoes. But beyond that...are there things you need to do or want to do, but you don't do them because of what could go wrong? Are there things in your past that you didn't do because of potential dangers that never came to pass? Are you letting fear of the risks of life keep you from really living life?

The first step to getting over that fear is to ask yourself one question - what is the worst thing that could happen?


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Risky business

"Adventurer" Steve Fossett has been declared dead five months after he disappeared. Read all about him here.

This was man who risked life and limb in a variety of ways his entire life. Yet he died not on one of his adventures, but on a pleasure flight. Reminds me of General George S. Patton, who served in both World Wars but died as the result of a car accident while on a hunting trip.

Living is a risky business. It's nine o'clock in the morning, and already I have risked my life in several ways. I took a shower - and could have slipped and cracked my head open! I took the elevator downstairs, drove to get breakfast, drove back home and took the elevator up again - an adventure fraught with danger from malfunctioning equipment and bad drivers! Even my breakfast was risky - I could have choked to death on my bagel!

Sounds sort of silly, doesn't it? The likelihood that the elevator cable would break and fall 11 stories at the exact time that I was on it was extremely low, but it could have happened.

So how does a person get out of bed and face the day when there is so much to fear out there? By identifying risks, taking steps avoid them, and knowing how to lessen their impact if they do happen.

It's simple, and you do it every day without even realizing it.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Golden versus tarnished

I don't watch much TV these days. I do catch a few shows on internet replay, and I can't avoid some "previews" on the advertising panels of some of my favorite web sites. And I tend to watch TV when I travel for business, like I am right now.

Overall, I just can't help but think that the best days of television programming is behind us.

So much of what is on TV these days shows bad behavior in a supposedly good light. One of the previews I mentioned is a woman getting her pantyhose ripped off while she leans back on her executive desk. It looks like this is something she wants, but the imagery purposely hints at rape. Is that really supposed to be sexy?

Among my Christmas gifts was the first season of Golden Girls on DVD, which I finished this past weekend. Sure, there is some sexual innuendo, but the show is primarily about friendship. And women depending on each other.

Maybe that's what that other show is about too. I don't know. Just seems like Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia had a lot more respect for themselves.