Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

Is it too late now to assess risks?

A part of the unfortunate events that happen in the workplace cannot be treated as simple avoidable episodes as most “undesirable surprises.” A few weeks ago, while the heads of administration and other members of the coordination were out for meetings, a thief got into one of our classrooms and stole most of the students’ smartphones. With such event, it could be said that the management lacked risk management skills or, at some point, had flaws in its execution, but what can be done if the owner of the building was the one who did not comply with our terms?

Most business people do not accept their employees justifying mistakes and negligence based on unforeseen events, mainly in times when there was life and psychological risks involved. However, mapping uncertainties is oftentimes overseen as only the parts that directly involve us and the center of the business, while we should also observe if the ones that provide us services are efficient and have well-thought actions.

In this case, the contract signed with the owner of the building stated clearly the existence of security agents and vigilance items to keep the place intact for our students’ safety, while in reality we were kept waiting for the building to act on our demand for security systems—there were none. Though I cannot say it was their fault in total, as we were too soft in pushing them to abide by security norms and did not take further lawful actions to press charges, such continuous negligence from previous fiscal semesters could have served to avoid this last dangerous situation.

Risk management has to be well-structured and all the negative impacts on both business operations and customer base should be reduced—if not eliminated. Risks always exist, no matter how careful we think we are.
But how do you predict the future? How to predict what can happen? How to assess its impacts? The first thing we can say is that this requires experience. It is no coincidence that many organizations create multidisciplinary risk assessment teams of experienced executives who have “seen a lot of things happen,” including, at times, even retired executives. They “see” risks that the younger cannot even imagine.

Hence, even if the salespeople are excited to close deals and accomplish matters, risk assessment indicates the needs to adopt additional security conditions—in our case—such as analyzing change of land and plant or approaching insurance agencies (which, luckily, we had contracts and we were able to reimburse the damage generated by the robbery). Moreover, we cannot trust service providers in a B2B relationship enough if they do not meet the terms agreed.