Tag Archives: Risk assessment

Risk Aversion or Risk-Taking?

Positive Risk-Taking logo

We all work with risk; we all have to make risk decisions, and sometimes those decisions involve the challenge of taking risks. Part of overcoming the challenges resides in our awareness of our own mindset in relation to risk. I have a simple 5-step approach to helping me make the challenging decisions… in work as well as in life.

Click on the following link to access a free webinar that provides 40+ minutes of training in the challenges risk can present, and an introduction to my 5-step approach:

https://app.webinarjam.net/register/21360/99e6026a97

This webinar condenses 30+ years of my experience working in and alongside health and social care services, and 60+ publications around the subject. Risk is something we should embrace from a positive perspective, and this webinar develops this mindset.

Currently under construction

 

Positive Risk-Taking logo

A brand new membership site is currently under construction at http://www.positiverisktaking.com

It will be providing a 5-module training package and additional bonus resources for small business owners and health & social care services.

Keep an eye out for the forthcoming webinars in Summer 2016 that will introduce this new online programme.

Risk and Leadership

Updated Risk Resource (2013)
Updated Risk Resource (2013)

What role does leadership play in good practice regarding how we work with risk? Leadership is often lacking, and management is all too often to the fore where considerations of risk are concerned in health and social care agencies. In this scenario fear and back-covering hold the attention, while good practice is presented as an unconvincing façade. Managers strangely play down any questions about excessive bureaucracy while still demanding all the paperwork is completed as the primary target. If something goes wrong it is the paperwork that gets sole attention, and real practice considerations are relegated to a place somewhere to the right of obscurity.

‘Good paperwork is a sign of good practice’ becomes the convenient smokescreen. This would be true if there was less management and more supportive leadership, as the need for paperwork would be put into perspective: as the essential minimum to support good practice not to hinder it. Good tools are a range of checklists and formats that have been shaped by good practice, and thus they are able to guide and prompt firstly, and capture good practice as a secondary function.

The Risk Decision-Making publication is the update of 17 years of working with individual practitioners and teams across countless organisations, both from within the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health initially and through the Practice Based Evidence consultancy since 2001. The tools and guidance are informed by what we know from the national and international research, but more significantly through the practice based evidence of hundreds of practitioners across all disciplines and service sectors. Most importantly, this publication refocuses the attention on risk as everyone’s business; so it is structured throughout to address issues from the perspective of individual’s, teams and the leadership & management of organisations. Whatever systems your leaders have bought or put into place there is still a role for guidance on best practice, so look no further.

Do what you say on your tin

Canadian Falls 3Are you taking the risk? It is something we all do, but why do we confuse and complicate it by our lackadaisical use of language? We take risks in order to gain something for ourselves, and occasionally others. We weigh up the options available to us, and make a decision based on what we compute to be the most beneficial course of action. It is called positive risk-taking not because we are trying to find a ‘positive risk’ (whatever that is), but because we are taking the risk in order to achieve a positive outcome (the gain or benefit). So, the word positive is about the outcome not about the risk! I am also not talking about ‘positive risk management’, which sounds too general and like unnecessary window-dressing of a process more often seen as negative or risk-averse. The word positive is being added to risk-taking, in my context, in order to bring some clarity and specific detail to your thinking.

We revere risk-takers in the worlds of sport, entertainment and business, tending to attribute degrees of awe to their decision-making and achievements. Do you think Ayrton Senna planned his route, speed and overtaking manoeuvres around the race-track because he thought the risk would be nice? Does Warren Buffett make his financial decisions based on a spin of his favourite coin? It is more than likely that both of these people employed complex ways of weighing up the pros and cons of choices facing them, sometimes with careful thought and consideration, and sometimes distilling a lifetime of experience into a split second. So do we, in our own personal circumstances.

Risk Decision-MakingSo, next time you are leaning on a bar deciding whether to have that extra Babycham, remember that positive risk-taking is weighing up the pros and cons of your particular set of circumstances at that time. Whereas the positive risk is simply the chance that they might taste better the more you have; and the positive risk management is the hope that those around you will help you home instead of tying you to a lamp-post at the end of the night. These concepts mean different things, so be clear when you use language, only positive risk-taking is thoughtful and considered. But… what do you think?

http://www.pavpub.com/risk-decision-making/

“Words are how people think. When you misuse words, you diminish your ability to think clearly and truthfully.” [Margaret Heffernan].

Podcast Episode 044: Suicide Risk Factors

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2In this episode I maintain a focus on suicide risk by reviewing risk factors and the importance of counter-balancing these with a focus on protective factors and strengths.

A specific program in Detroit has generated debate and pilot sites in the UK to develop a zero tolerance to suicide risk, and while aiming for zero suicides is an excellent ideal, it raises several important questions. Firstly, some people have made a clear and final decision to take their own lives for their own complex and personal reasons, so how will choice be respected within a zero tolerance approach? Will services be recognised for reductions in suicide rates or will the blame culture still focus on the diminishing few completed cases? Should any practitioners or advocates seriously question the ethos and intentions behind a zero tolerance approach?

Suicide risk factors from the known research are outlined, and the more personalised reflection of protective factors are highlighted. The emphasis on assessing and working with suicide risk is placed on the quality information through narrative approaches, not the more frequent bureaucratic requirement for ticking boxes.

For the full content of this episode click on the links for iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/044-suicide-risk-factors/id867043694?i=334338377&mt=2

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” [Phil Donahue].

Podcast Episode 043: Suicide Risk [2]

IMAG1511What role does positive risk-taking have to play when someone is experiencing and expressing serious suicidal thoughts? Firstly, we have a duty to take such expressions very seriously, but the language of suicide risk can often appear overwhelming to others, and generate great fears of what might be.

Do we respond in a way that manages the other person, manages the situation, and ultimately takes over through assuming control over and for the person? Do we really take that step backwards, and give ourselves whatever time is available to listen to the person and help them explore their options in a supported relationship? We cannot eliminate risk, but do we become overwhelmed by a fear of engaging in the real conversation?

There is no such thing as a risk-free option, and in this episode I outline a case example from my own practice that illustrates how positive risk-taking was put in place through listening and acting on what the individual has to say, identifying alternatives, and exploring strengths and potential protective factors alongside the serious expression of risk.

For the full content of this episode click on the links for iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/043-suicide-risk-2/id867043694?i=333467695&mt=2

“If it wasn’t for the possibility of suicide I would have killed myself a long time ago.” [Unknown source].

Podcast Episode 015: Positive Risk-Taking

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2We live and work to varying degrees in a blame culture, which can drive us unintentionally to make more risk averse decisions on occasions. But taking risks is an essential part of a healthy life. The questions that we need to address are why we take risks, and then to consider how we go about taking risks.

The concept of Positive Risk-Taking is discussed in this episode, as something that emerged in the thinking relating to mental health services, but is equally applicable to everyone’s lives. The concept is firmly based in strengths-thinking, because we gain confidence in taking risks if we are more aware of our or others strengths. The discussion highlights the importance of clearer use of language in order to communicate more precisely what we mean.

A further message is that a risk averse option is not a risk-free option. Quotes are used to illustrate the importance of taking risks in our lives.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/015-positive-risk-taking/id867043694?i=316182597&mt=2

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” [T. S. Eliot].