September 16, 2019

Taking chances

It’s impossible to predict every possible scenario.   So instead of trying to plan for every eventuality, it’s much better to simply keep your options open.

The trick is to minimise the possible downside, while allowing the upside to take care of itself.   So, if you can protect your restaurant from the worst effects of a storm, you can stay open, when others around you don’t.  If everyone is evacuated (including you), you’re no worse off than if you had closed anyway.  If they aren’t, you’re going to be popular.

This is what it means to be antifragile – the downside won’t kill you, while the upside benefits you significantly.

The beauty of this idea is that it makes dealing with risk much simpler.  All you really need is to understand what might kill you, and mitigate the effects of that – creating a floor, below which nothing can go, while leaving the ceiling open to the sky.

You can do this with business processes too.

Specify “the least that should happen”, and let humans beings find new ways to add the delight.

Then ratchet up the floor.