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Using Risk Management to Prioritize Training

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March 12, 2015

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Using Risk Management to Prioritize Training

Firefighting Training-16x9

Have you ever sat at your desk, staring at the computer, wondering where to begin? In today’s work environment, we are constantly lured this way and that with information inundation – causing some of us to feel scattered, overwhelmed, and ineffective. As a result, I have heard people use the following expressions “drinking from a fire hose”, “my head is going to explode”, or “not enough time” to describe their situation.

It isn’t really important what category you see yourself in. What is important is how to sift and sort through all this “stuff”, especially regulatory training requirements. The disjointed and chaotic mix of factors, like additional regulatory requirements impacting operation, the economy, and changes to technology can cause our heads to spin. In addition, we may experience feeling extremely vulnerable to having our focus pulled away, losing sight of our goal and going off into various avenues that derail efforts, and consume an inappropriate amount of the “resource pie”, leaving critical operations hungry.

How do we maintain focus and stay on track? The best approach I have found with consistent results is to use the process of risk management at all levels within an organization. Risk management is inherent to well-functioning management systems and change management. The process itself is quite simple and helps to re-focus efforts on what is most important within your company toward realizing your goals. Below are simple risk management steps:

Step One: Re-visit your goal – what are you trying to accomplish? For example: Your goal is to ensure all mariners within your span of control are qualified and competent to do their jobs.

Step Two: What is compromising your goal? Using the above example, list items that are keeping you from being unable to ensure all mariners within your span of control are qualified and competent, such as not having training records easily accessible, not having a training plan, or not knowing what the training requirements are.

Step Three: Determine significance of impact to each of the areas identified in Step Two by rating them low (1), medium (2), or high (3). Using the same items identified above, you determine not having training records easily accessible is a “3”, not having a training plan a “2”, and not knowing the training requirements you also rate as ”3”.

Step Four: Identify control measures to lessen the risk (significance of impact) based on a cost benefit analysis. Tracking down training records is the least costly and can be done right away, so this will be done first, from there a training plan can be developed and resources can simultaneously be allocated to research training requirements.

Using risk management as a “sift and sort” process helps elevate you above the fray to gain a bigger picture perspective on what is really important, assisting you on your way to prioritizing how to spend critical training dollars while creating order out of chaos. Please join the discussion below if you have any suggestions or comments to share.

This entry has been created for information and planning purposes. It is not intended to be, nor should it be substituted for, legal advice, which turns on specific facts.

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