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FAIR Institute Interview with Jack Jones and Michele Wucker, author of "The Gray Rhino"

Video with Slides

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.

Jack 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 “covers 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.

“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.”