Everyone has seen a picture of an iceberg showing only the tip of the iceberg actually visible above water and the majority underwater.
Prevention is sort of like an iceberg because the majority of actions that must be taken with regard to preventing incidents are not visible to most people. For example, if you work at a financial organization and you are striving to prevent fraud and the expensive consequences of fraud, or if you work for an educational institution and you are striving to prevent bullying and the expensive consequences of bullying, the biggest risks, consequences and costs are not always visible at first, but they cannot be ignored either.
Lessons learned show us if you focus only on the tip of the iceberg you are making a big mistake because you are missing the most dangerous risks and challenges that could cause the most embarrassing and most expensive costs to your organization or your educational institution.
Lessons learned also show us knee-jerk reacts to the tip of the iceberg can lead to BIG failures (Titanic, RSA, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Suicides, Lawsuits, etc.). And we also know knee-jerk reactions seldom turn out to be the best overall or long-term solution and hardly ever address the core of more serious risks and threats.
To give you an example, immediately after the Virginia Tech tragedy, a massive number of organizational leaders reacted to the tragic situation by rushing out to purchase mass notification systems. Mass notification systems might be helpful for “reacting” once you have rammed into the “iceberg” (tragedy, incident, lawsuit, etc.), but lessons learned clearly reveal most tragedies and incidents were preventable. To prevent, organizations need the right tools to get the right information to the right people in the right places at the right time so appropriate individuals could have done the right things so no mass notification was necessary.
Recent knee-jerk reactions include those related to mounting fraud in the financial sector, escalating bullying (and other alarming student safety trends) in the educational sector, as well as many other dangerous trends affecting several other sectors around the world.
In the financial sector, financial leaders are purchasing one-size-fits-all solutions that will hopefully notify them once their customer’s money has been fraudulently stolen. In the education sector, school leaders are purchasing one-size-fits-all incident reporting solutions and hoping students, teachers, staff and parents will use them. However, it is important to note that one-size-fits-all solutions like these offer little to no tools for preventing these incidents and preventing the escalating and expensive consequences related to fraud, bullying and many other alarming risks and trends.
When it comes to fraud and bullying and many other risks, remember there are numerous risks, threats, challenges and consequences that may not be visible, so make sure you have the right tools to obtain the right information so you and others in your organization can do the right things to prevent the preventable.