Managing Emerging Risks to Prevent Future Fires

As a leader, you’re probably an expert firefighter by now. Every day, it feels like a new fire crops up that demands your attention and prevents higher-level work from getting done. Over time, though, executives and leaders may begin to notice signs of “potential fires” — or emerging risks — as they crop up.

Knowing these signs and keeping an eye on them is the best way to prevent full-blown fires in the future, but it does take experience and a handful of tricks to get started.

Signs of an Emerging Risk

Unlike a full-blown problem, an emerging risk is something that an executive or his/her team should keep an eye on — not react. Signs of minor emerging risks include:

  • Small system crashes
  • Hacked servers or computers
  • Decreasing sales in a handful of stores
  • Tax changes
  • Economic Crises
  • Shortage of goods
  • Entire tech system crashes within your company or office
  • New competitors with identical, more affordable products
  • Noting that small shift with quantifiable information (numbers, percentages, sales, etc.)
  • Tracking that shift to see if it goes away or gets bigger

Carl is a business psychologist and leadership development expert who focuses on the development of high performance leaders.

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