Monday, February 23, 2009

One Choice, Many Ripples

This is an amazing truth that explains many things from the reason few of us take the necessary risks to succeed in life, to the confounding nature of managing change effectively. We see an organisation or an individual make one simple change and there are often unforeseen ripples, creating potential incidents and issues for months and years to come. All from only one decision.

We can see here why the wisdom of the experienced person steers them away from taking unnecessary risks, having learned possibly from their own and others’ flippancy.

These lessons of experience are valuable in charting the way through shallow waters, avoiding the shipwreck. This is where the SWOT tool of risk management and organisational planning can be employed. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Weaknesses and threats

When we do take the risk, and calculatingly so, we try and foresee what can go wrong--selecting our weaknesses and paying due diligence toward the threats--in our analyses.

Threats spell potential disaster. We don’t like to think that one decision can bring us to the brink, but it’s true to a certain extent, particularly when the tumultuous ground has been ploughed already i.e. when the scene’s set.

Strengths and opportunities

We will probably maximise the strengths and opportunities as they come, but these too can bring us unstuck as opportunities sometimes reveal themselves later as traps. Our strengths can overpower the situation and we suddenly spoil what might have been otherwise okay.

We shudder at the thought that our strengths might actually become a fatal flaw; it’s all about balance and the ego.

Calming the ripples

Without the appropriate level of thought and consideration regarding the risks, we will often tread a precarious line. There are many snares that lay ahead in managing change.

Taking a moment to just sit and consider a decision is sometimes all that’s needed. Some of us (myself included) can occasionally have a tendency to act or react impulsively and it can bring more harm than good. Change is not always a good thing.

When we do change things and they go pear-shaped, we need to find ways of calming the ripples and reconciling the situation so we can restore the credibility. Ah, the wonder of 20/20 hindsight!

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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