When it’s impossible to avoid, transfer, or mitigate

Accepting Threats — abstract illustration
Accepting Threats — abstract illustration
Photo by ra2studio on depositphotos

One possible response to a threat is to just accept it. Acceptance is a suitable reaction when a threat is small, unavoidable, or unknown — or when it’s impossible to avoid, transfer, or mitigate.

When you choose acceptance, you may simply hope for the best and plan appropriate responses to any of the repercussions that arise. Acceptance can be either passive or active.

Passive acceptance

Passive acceptance involves doing nothing unless a threat arises, then you try to tackle the consequences. For example, bad weather can cause delays to construction projects.

Your planning team may try to schedule major outdoor tasks for…

A good option when avoiding or transferring them isn’t possible

Mitigating Threats — abstract illustration
Mitigating Threats — abstract illustration
Photo by maxxyustas on depositphotos

Another way to respond to threats is to mitigate their effects. When you mitigate a threat you reduce the likelihood that it’ll occur — and reduce the impact it’ll have if it does occur — to acceptable levels.

Mitigating threats is a good option when avoiding or transferring them isn’t possible, or when these responses are too expensive. Mitigation is the risk response used most often by managers.

There are a number of techniques you can use to mitigate threats.

Less complex processes

One way is to adopt less complex processes. Imagine you’re the manager responsible for distributing charity funds.

Your risk analysis…

On insurance, contracts, performance bonds and guarantees

Transferring Threats — abstract illustration
Transferring Threats — abstract illustration
Photo by gunnar3000 on depositphotos

Transferring the risk is one way to respond to a threat. Instead of trying to avoid or eliminate risk, you assign ownership of the risk to a person or organization who can deal with it better. This third party may take on all or part of the risk.

Organizations frequently transfer risk in order to manage financial risks. However, this service is usually costly. Before you take this approach, consider the budget you’re operating with and carry out a cost estimate.


There are various ways to transfer responsibility for the threats you face at work. For example, you can buy…

Match the appropriate avoidance technique to the risk you face

Avoiding Threats — abstrat illustration
Avoiding Threats — abstrat illustration
Photo by twixx on depositphotos

To deal with a threat effectively, you must understand what type of threat it is and how severe it is. Once you understand the threat, you can select the most effective response. You could choose to avoid the threat, eliminate the cause of the threat, or adjust your plan so that the threat no longer applies.

Avoid the risk

If a threat has a high probability of occurring — and is likely to impact your activities negatively — your first reaction should be to try to avoid it. This approach works best when you’re fairly certain what the outcome of the threat will…

Assigning rankings and calculating the risk priority number

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis — abstract illustration
Failure Mode and Effect Analysis — abstract illustration
Photo by Rawpixel on depositphotos

The first stage of a failure mode and effect analysis, or FMEA, involves assigning rankings for severity, occurrence, and detection to the effects of each risk your organization or project faces.

Each ranking uses a 10-point scale, with 1 being the lowest ranking and 10 the highest. Everyone on your team must be on the same page to ensure consistent rankings, so always make sure to establish the scales before you start the ranking process.

Assigning a severity ranking

Begin by assigning a severity ranking. This ranking estimates how serious the effects would be to your project if a potential risk — or failure…

How to decide which ones will benefit you and your organization the most

Photo kartos on depositphotos

Even if your organization is the biggest in the business, chances are it still won’t be able to pursue every opportunity that presents itself. So how do you decide which ones will benefit you and your organization the most?

The value of each apparent opportunity

You can assess the value of each apparent opportunity by asking the right questions. Get input from everyone working on your project when answering these questions and then you can determine which opportunities are worth pursuing.

The first question to ask when weighing opportunities is “What events would…

On SWOT analysis and event tree analysis

Photo by Rawpixel on depositphotos

Opportunities and threats can be assessed separately, but you can also evaluate them together using some combined assessment techniques.

SWOT analysis

One of the combined techniques is known as SWOT analysis — short for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis. In SWOT analysis, you specify a company’s primary objectives and identify the positive and negative factors, both internal and external, that will contribute to meeting those objectives.

This analysis matches your organization’s strengths to external opportunities and also looks for ways to turn weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities. …

On opportunity analysis, market surveys, research and development, test marketing, FMEA and annual loss expectancy

Opportunity and Threat Assessment Techniques — abstract illustration
Opportunity and Threat Assessment Techniques — abstract illustration
Photo by murrstock on depositphotos

Assessing opportunities

The opportunities and threats your organization faces can be assessed separately using different techniques. The most common techniques for assessing opportunities are opportunity analysis, market surveys, research and development, and test marketing.

In opportunity analysis, you ask a set of questions designed to increase the chances of an opportunity occurring. It’s a process that enables you to identify where opportunities exist in your organization so you can cut costs and save time or other resources.

Market surveys can take the form of consumer questionnaires, focus groups, and online surveys, all of which can help your organization to find where new…

On threats, opportunities, probability, and impacts

Key Risk Assessment Concepts — abstract illustration
Key Risk Assessment Concepts — abstract illustration
Photo by stnazkul on depositphotos

Do you ever find yourself heading into work asking yourself “What’s going to happen today?” or “How is this plan going to work out in reality?” Don’t worry — this makes you a member of a pretty big club.

Assess risks and take action

After all, uncertainty is a part of every business environment and most business decisions entail risk. Assess those risks and take action where necessary to keep your business on the rails and moving forward.

Before engaging in risk assessment, however, familiarize yourself with some key concepts. The first thing to recognize is that a risk can be a threat or an…

How to clear the path for a productive brainstorming session

Dealing with Brainstorming Challenges — abstract illustration
Dealing with Brainstorming Challenges — abstract illustration
Photo by REDPIXEL on depositphotos

Getting participants to stick to ground rules is a common problem in brainstorming sessions, but it isn’t the only challenge that can arise. There’s also the tricky human factor to consider — specifically different personality types and group dynamics.

You may encounter dominant participants, who may use the session for their own agenda and prevent others from contributing, and “groupthink,” which causes people to go along with the group.


You may also see digression, which can take attention away from the real risks, and quiet group members, who sometimes get excluded from the discussion. …

Sorin Dumitrascu

A consultant, trainer and author specialized in management, corrections and industrial relations

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