If you’re a football fan, you know that the role of the left tackle is to protect the QB from the pass rushers coming in from his blind side. Typically the defense positions their most dangerous pass rushers on the blind side of the Quarterback to maximize the potential for an impact play (sack, fumble, or interception). Thus, while the left tackle most likely will never pass, run, or throw the ball, he is one of the most important offensive players on the field.
In business, sometimes you also can get hit from the blind side. These blindside hits can be among the most dangerous and damaging risks -- because you never saw them coming.
How do we avoid the blindside risks [and not end up like the guy in the video to the right]? It all begins with identifying, classifying and managing those risks.
Identifying Blindside Business Risk
Risk can come from many different places. Some are obvious, like vehicle accidents, worker injuries, and regulatory compliance. Others may be lying in wait in your blindside where you won’t see them coming. Common blindside risks today include things like cyber attacks, reputational or brand protection, or loss of a crucial customer.
Risk isn’t static. Every day, month, and year, risks to your business are developing. Constant vigilance is required to stay aware.
The Three Kinds of Blindside Business Risk
Risk can be classified into 3 different categories. The first category is classified as “hazard risk” and refers to the things most people think about when they talk about “risk management.” Hazard risks include things like fire, theft, injuries, and vehicle crashes.
The next type of risk can be grouped into a “corporate risk” category. Examples of these types of threats are things such as loss of customer or employee turnover.
The last grouping of risk would include “strategic risk”. Managing strategic risk involves planning for and managing future growth, future branding strategies, and perpetuation planning. Although this might not be what you typically think of when you hear the term “risk management,” it is even more important to manage than other sources of risk.
All of these types of risk are intertwined. Failure to address one area means you’re not doing all you can to impact the others.
Ways to Manage Business Risk
There are 5 basic strategies to manage risk. Prevention is a way to manage risk by proactively preparing, such as holding employee trainings or utilizing a program of safety policies and procedures.
Mitigation involves reducing the exposures to risk. Examples of this would be creating such things as disaster recovery plans or a contingency plan for the event of a loss of a key executive.
Transfer of risk typically involves moving that risk to another party. This transfer is typically done via outsourcing or contractual risk transfer to another party.
Assumption of risk is all about knowing your what your risk is and either knowingly or unknowingly taking on the financial, economic or other consequence of loss.
Insurance involves ceding the identified risk to an insurance carrier to minimize the financial impact from a possible loss.
Who’s Got Your Blindside?
If you are a business owner or corporate executive, who is that left tackle protecting your blindside? Your left tackle may actually be a team of professionals to include your attorney, accountant, and insurance professional.
This team of left tackles can protect you and your business most effectively when they are all on the same page working out of the same playbook. If your team of left tackles doesn’t have a playbook - or if they all have different playbooks - it could open you up to one of those devastating blind side hits.
If you want to play the game, you better have an “All Pro” team of left tackles. Having these resources can help prevent your company from being sacked and knocked out on the way to a touchdown!