Recently, the bosslady and I were on vacation in Europe. It was a lovely time spent with some good friends. We had heard inklings of a hurricane out in the Atlantic, but we weren’t to worried about it, they rarely ramp up to affect our area.
While on vacation, we received a text from our air carrier, stating in summary that they could not guarantee our arrival home on time. That was a problem, as I had only started working at my new company a week prior. Given the risk that I may be delayed, I asked a friend of mine, Robert, who is a weather expert for his opinion. He stated, that while it is hard to predict Mother Nature, this storm was building steam, trending more northerly, and would impact a wide area. So no matter really where it landed there would be widespread damage, as it was predicted to land as a category 4 at the time. A final consideration were my daughters, while grown, they were attempting to take care of the house.
I didn’t think about it at the time, but the risk management practices kicked in. What was the risk that I was worried about, making sure I was at work on Monday morning.
The Project Management Institute defines risk as “an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives.” Hurricane Florence definitely falls into the negative effects category, which, if it impacted my area, would definitely throw off our schedule. The probability of my area being impacted, at the time our air carrier sent the text was greater than 50%. If the airline is worried, I should be worried. The impact, if Florence hit our area as a category 4, would have been heavy. There was urgency in making the decision: It would take a minimum of two days to get back home, and the airport would probably close the day prior to expected impact (Thursday).
I had the following choices:
- Avoidance: This was a non-starter, mother nature is in control of the storm, and there is nothing I could do to eliminate the threat of delay/damage from the hurricane.
- Transfer: This was also a non-starter. It was I who had to report to work, there is no way I could transfer this to someone else. On other trips, I have purchased trip insurance to transfer the risk of delay to the insurance company. But this was a new job, with no basis established yet.
- Acceptance: I could choose to avoid the risk, and hope for the best (the storm would turn away and our area not be impacted), and continue our vacation as if nothing was happening; we should arrive back home prior to my work date.
- Mitigation: I could choose to terminate our vacation early and head for home. This would ensure I would be home prior to my work date, and be available to assist in preps.
In reality, I had two choices, I could accept the risk and do nothing, or I could get mitigate the risk and get my little behind on a plane home. I chose mitigation.
Luckily (for the bosslady and I), the hurricane slowed and shifted to a more southerly track.