Building a Risk Management Mindset

Building a Risk Management Mindset

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “safety pays” before. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a website, with that very name, that allows you to calculate how much an injury will cost your company. While figuring out the cost of an injury can be a great addition to an internal safety meeting, the larger message here is that when everyone within your company possesses a risk management mindset, your organization can truly reach new heights. 

So what does it mean to build a risk management mindset within your company?

Simply put, it means to be intentional with any decision you make by contemplating the potential outcome(s) before you act and how that outcome will affect the company at large. 

It could be from an injury/accident standpoint, where taking a moment to think about what could happen to you or others if you follow through with your decision. It also could be from a sales or marketing view as well. How many times have your salespeople sold a job that was out of your comfort zone and now your production crew has to find creative ways to get the job done without the proper equipment, experience or workforce?

Thinking through the potential outcomes before a decision is made can also help you take reasonable or calculated risks for your company that move everything forward. Just by starting your business or joining the leadership team where you are right now, you utilized a risk management mindset to decide to embark on your new professional journey in hopes that you would find a better opportunity for yourself and your family. You intentionally made that decision as you felt it was the best chance to improve your situation. The intentionality of your decision, the fact you thought about the outcome of your career switch before you made your decision, is how you use a risk management mindset for the positive. 

Being intentional in your decision making also creates an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your team based on your thought process before acting – and we all know the power of open conversations between team members. Good tree services become great when communication has been encouraged amongst every person within the company.

To begin installing a risk management mindset within your company, start your next safety meeting by explaining something that you did without much thought that led to a near miss. Then talk through with your team how, if you took a few extra moments to think through the outcomes of your action (both positive and negative), it could have changed your decision. Ask for participation from your team so they become involved in the conversation and begin to understand the topic. Don’t forget to bring in the larger picture at play as well. If your decision led to an injury or accident, how does that affect the entire organization? What do others need to do to help overcome that injury? 

Then use a positive example to illustrate the opposite effect of a risk management mindset. Discuss the latest business decision that may have seemed risky (starting a PHC division, opening up a new location, buying a larger piece of equipment) and how you strategically thought through the risk of that decision by understanding the outcomes to arrive ultimately at your decision to move ahead with it. 

Getting your team to begin to think just a little bit into the future by using a risk management mindset can dramatically shift the experience your company faces from having things happen to you, to making them happen for you. 

We all have a risk management mindset at times when making decisions for ourselves and company, however, the companies that grow the fastest and are the most profitable have been able to consciously replicate that mindset within everyone inside of their organization. If you are struggling with this concept, our Thrive New Heights Package and Thrive Safety Package will help you realize the potential of a risk management mindset within your organization.

Margaret Hebert