Saturday, April 10, 2010

Catastrophic Failure in Risk Analysis

In the early hours of the morning, as those of us in the US slept - a tragic series of events unfolded in Russia.  Poland lost an entire plane, the equivalent of Air Force One, to a fiery crash that saw the President and many of his cabinet disappear into the Russian fog and fire.

I think the BBC article says it best:
"President Lech Kaczynski and scores of other senior Polish figures have been killed in a plane crash in Russia."
Incredible, sad, and incredible.  I paused to reflect on how a tragedy like this could take place, but quickly focused on how so many senior government officials including the Polish President could be on the same rickety, 20-year-old Russian tin can.  Maybe it's just anger that my homeland is once again gripped with tragedy and sadness - maybe it's just anger at the utter idiocy of the situation.

Let me recap what makes me so angry.  Clearly someone failed at the most basic risk-analysis.  I can't believe it didn't cross someone's mind (or that it wasn't protocol) that the President and so many senior members of his governing body should not be on the same plane.  Honestly, back at my last company we joked all the time that the security team (given that there were 4 of us) shouldn't get into the same elevator ...just in case.  There was policy that the CEO and senior members of the company board could not travel together for fear of losing such a huge chunk of leadership in a tragedy.  ...but alas ... my Polish brethren just didn't think of that.

Now would be a good time to reflect upon your own risk analysis back at the office.  Do you have a policy that would protect your company, its intellectual property, and leadership in case tragedy strikes?

While you take a moment to mourn [ Monday, April 12th, 9:00am EDT - 97 seconds of silence for the 97 lives lost ] reflect back on the risk analysis you do every day and ask yourself ... "How's my risk analysis?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have a point obviously, however please note that the people who guarantee continuity of government, namely the prime minister and marshal of the Sejm were not on board.

Additionally - the plane was 20-years old but before we draw conclusions from this fact please first check how old is the plane used by US president or German chancellor. Also dismissing the Russian-made machine as a tin-can is unfair. Especially knowing that the presidential plane was a specially-crafted VIP model, has just recently gone through an extensive servicing process and that as of now the probable cause of the incident is a human error.

In a perfect world all government figures would fly separate Cessnas and travel in flocks!