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Risk Intelligence - Our Take 5 Method

Posted by Dennis Millard on 17 July 2020
Risk Intelligence - Our Take 5 Method

Take 5's used in industry are seen by majority of workers as a tick and flick, at Patriot Group we knew we had the same concern of inheriting the At-Risk Behaviour. We worked hard on the approach we now use, understanding we needed to provide the 'what's in it for me' for our people.

One of the best approaches to learning about risk is through discovery. Unfortunately, one of the most common approaches to helping others understand and manage risk is through 'telling'. Not all telling is effective indeed, in adult learning telling is often ineffective, especially if we want to develop Organisational Sensemaking, Collective Mindfulness and 'ownership'.

The key element in discovery is the admission that one 'doesn't know', it is a disposition of open-minded enquiry that acknowledges uncertainty. We have boundless hindsight but very narrow foresight. The foundation of managing risk is understanding that many things we enact are not fully known. We often make decisions within the constraints of time, resources, experience, fallible constraints and bounded rationality. It is not possible to optimise and wait for all data and knowledge before a decision must be made (satisficing). There are three stages in decision making: searching, stopping and deciding, eventually people make a decision. Searching is best done by discovering, observing, listening and conversations. Knowing this Patriot Group empowers the 'Take 5 Tool' in a different way. We know that the Take 5 is not a tick and flick, it is about:

  • Stopping to slow down the mind to analyse whilst observing the area and thinking about the job at hand. This helps surface to the forefront of mind risk management steps we need to put in place to tackle risk, as well as discovering new (hidden risks not seen when working in autopilot).
  • Reading our work instructions and challenging the existing controls to prove them wrong (entertaining doubt to ensure risk management steps are strong).
  • We know that discussing the task activities with other workers prior to starting is very important, as we all see the world so differently. This collective approach certainly helps all to learn and become more 'risk intelligent'.

Key Takeaways

  1. It is important to know that the hardwiring in the way people think is 'Soon Certain Positive' and 'consequence controls behaviours'. If we do not teach how the Take 5 helps protect them, they will tick and flick it. (As soon as I tick the boxes, it is certain I can get the job done (positive); at this point without knowing it, their risk exposure goes up). It is there for critical for all employees to understand that Take 5's are not so much a personal risk assessment, but is there to actually slow their mind down to enable them to consciously analysis hazards not considered in their surroundings. Because of many variables humans naturally miss (do not see 30% of what's around them in a day).
  2. Industry normally has individuals carry out Take 5's on their own, at Patriot we understand we all see risk differently, therefore were possible we encourage our employees to do Take 5's as a team discussion. 'Communication consultation is key to understanding risk perception', gaining agreed collective views to risk management is key to safer work outcomes.
  3. When explaining how Take 5's work, it is important to give examples of what it feels like to slow down our thinking to switch on our sensors. One great way to do this is, ask them to stop and think about the shoes on their feet, 'they will now sense the feeling of the shoe on their feet, they weren't thinking about this beforehand. By slowing down we give our sensors a better chance to surface what we may not be seeing, hearing or sensing (gut feel). By discussing or thinking about the job task at hand before getting straight into it, you are strengthening your risk intelligence.
Dennis MillardAuthor:Dennis Millard
About: Dennis Millard is a thought leader in organisational safety and risk management. His innovative application of the psychology of risk in other words, how humans tick and think has helped him achieve some remarkable results for high-performing businesses in an age of complexity.
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