If you were to watch a drop of water fall it would be hard to imagine that same drop being part of a force to reckon. Much can be learned from this, for now lets focus on the reminder that nothing is as simple as it seems.

Often we take things at face value – based on a number of reasons right from a full schedule and rushing to the next meeting, to trusting the person. And it is also vital that we do take things at face value – imagine if we treated every potential drop of water as if it was already a flood – just because it has the potential to be dangerous – does not mean it is at the moment or ever will be. The hidden danger here is this as well as the inverse, we ignore the possibility of the water becoming a “flood” and then we are taken by surprise when it happens.

So what should we be doing? As it probably sounds like you loose either way – the answer lies in being aware of the potential and the current reality.

I think in business terms we could frame it as good old risk analysis – a key part of your toolkit for ensuring your business is sustainable.If you aren’t able to identify potential risks you are simply not able to plan for them – they will catch you unawares.

In simple terms I have mapped out the steps below which you and everyone at your firm should make part of your reviews, remember as you practice so will you remember the steps.

1. Each and every time start with establishing the areas you will be looking at. Such as product, customers, legislation, your team etc.

2. Take a few moments to really think about these areas.

3. As you were thinking – what came up for you? Things like:

1. What are you concerned about? What are you unsure about?
2. What do you think isn’t working?
3. What is frustrating you? What could keep you awake at night?
4. Now that you have identified some risks – prioritise them in terms of likely to occur and impact if it does.
5. Take each risk and think of possible ways to mitigate / reduce / avoid this risk, focusing on the ones that have the highest impact and likelihood of happening.
6. Research / Consider the possible solutions identified to determine course of action.
7. Implement actions. Don’t forget to build in a way to track if the solutions are meeting the goals of reducing risk.

The key take out is: Identify High Priority Potential Risks, Find Solutions, Implement and monitor and adjust actions if need be. The secret here is to see it as a turnkey solution – from identifying the potential to monitoring the prevention of it.