Why we resist risk mitigation

As my wife and I looked at our relocation, one of our biggest fears was that we would not find satisfactory housing quickly.  It had taken six months of sustained househunting to find our current home, which we ended up building (it was part of an established development).  Our experience led us to worry that our 60 days of temporary housing coverage would leave us stuck renting in Evansville — while also potentially paying for a Rhode Island mortgage — until we found a place.

Therefore, we put some mitigation steps in place.  For example, I used frequent “stayer” points from Marriott and Hilton for our first fews weeks of housing.  We also waited to book temporary housing until after we found a house and our offer was accepted.  We will close next week, so therefore it appears that we have not only mitigated the risk, but avoided it altogether.  However glad I am that this risk went away — or has become very small — I’m not very satisfied by the result.   I felt like I had unnecessarily burned points that I could have used for vacation. 

This experience has given a much better feeling for why some types of risk response get short shrift.  In particular, there isn’t much glory in risk mitigation that lowers the probability of an event.  Sure, one can feel happy about stacking sandbags to stop a flood from damaging one’s basement.  There’s a sense of accomplishment in sticking a finger in the dam, shoring up the wall, etc.

But what about preventing the flood in the first place?  Does anyone appreciate that approach as much?

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2 Responses

  1. At a successful launch – spacecraft on orbit – every Safety and Mission Assurance team memeber is persoannly thanked for a job well down. The launch vehicle and its payload performed as planned. All risk mitigation, retirement, and buydown earned back their investment.

    “All systems nominal”

    If only this were the culture in enterprise IT ;(<

  2. […] Why we resist risk mitigation […]

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