FAIR Institute Blog

Video: Jack Jones and ‘Gray Rhino’ Author Michele Wucker Talk Why We Don’t See Risks Coming

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 31, 2020 7:09:35 AM / by Jeff B. Copeland

It was a meeting of the minds: FAIR model creator Jack Jones, who’s dedicated his career advocating for quantitative, critical thinking against the easy-button practices of conventional cyber risk management—and Michele Wucker, author of The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore, a highly acclaimed book that’s getting renewed buzz as a result of the “unforeseen” coronavirus crisis that was all along like a snorting gray rhino about to charge.

Watch this video for a fascinating conversation that will put you on the lookout for gray rhinos in your risk landscape.  




Gray Rhino Author Michele WuckerJack and Michele discuss: 

  • The often ignored but close connection between the personal risk appetites of organization leaders and the risk appetite they enforce on the business. 
  • The gray rhinos stirring on the horizon today: How the risks associated with financial system fragility, climate change, political and geo-political policies, have all interacted with the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Why it’s so hard for decision makers to see and act on risks; the psychological and cultural incentives and disincentives to tune out dangers. Michele highlighted common “defensive reactions” by Americans that “cover up the fragile place we are in as a society now…We need a fundamental flip in mentality.”
  • How organizations can overcome paralyzing biases by setting up structures that encourage debate. 

blob-14“If you could make one recommendation to us about gray rhinos, what would that be?” Jack asked.  

“Take a fresh look at what’s in front of you and evaluate how well you are dealing with it,” Michele advised. Is your team making excuses or mobilizing? Are you creating a sense of urgency and backing it up with the right plan? Once you are acting, are you doing course corrections?  

“The biggest thing that I hope comes out of this mess we are in right now is a change in mindset so that…people think about what they missed, how they can apply that knowledge going forward and how do we adopt a much more proactive mindset.”


From a FAIR™ Institute Perspective, COVID-19 Isn’t a Black Swan. It’s a Gray Rhino

Black Swans in Risk: Myth, Reality and Bad Metaphors


Jeff B. Copeland

Written by Jeff B. Copeland

Jeff is the Content Marketing Manager for RiskLens.

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