Managing Change

And its risks

The one constant in life is change. No matter the status quo or how great the plan, one can almost guarantee that something will come along to alter that status quo, or bump that great plan of course.

The one big reason for being able to say that change is inevitable with such confidence is the fact that, even with all of the technology and understanding in the world, the future cannot be predicted. Doppler radar and experienced meteorologists can track and model disastrous weather patterns, but cannot specifically tell how badly they will hit and what damage they will do. More importantly, we can’t stop it from happening. The best, and really only, thing we can do is prepare.

Part of this preparation, particularly in business and industry, is called risk management. One definition of risk management, provided by ISO standards, is “the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities.”

These risks can come from uncertainties in the financial markets, the failure of projects, legal liabilities and even natural disasters, like the unpredictable weather patterns described earlier. Under the concept of risk management, the strategies to manage these risks can include:

  • transferring the threat to another party
  • avoiding the threat
  • reducing the negative effect or probability of the threat, or
  • accepting some or all of the potential or actual consequences of a particular threat

One of the most common and well-known tools under the threat-transfer strategy is insurance—Carrying and paying premiums for a home owner’s policy that protects against damage caused to a home and property by a storm or natural disaster. Additionally, well-known organizations in our industry, like NIST and ISO, have developed and offer several risk management standards to help guide businesses through managing their risk.

This month’s Quality provides some help as well. In “Software Trends Today,” Jim Shepherd explains that it is critical to keep an eye on the future, to anticipate what’s coming next, and plan for how to integrate it into current technology. Genevieve Diesing’s article, “Managing Operational Excellence,” explores management strategies to help guide a team toward organizational or project change. So don’t risk it! Check out what this month’s Quality has to offer.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

 Darryl Seland, Editorial Director 

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Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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