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International Risk Management
Transcript of International Risk Management
"It's why we do it"
Lessons from Wilderness Risk Management
A systems approach to Proactive Risk Management
Risk: "It's why we do it" - so what is it and what is your personal and institutional level of risk acceptance?
Risk is how we grow
Risk is how we get hurt
Positive Risk Taking - calculated and guided risks
Challenge Zone - Healthy Risk
Leadership and Culture
Marketing - print and online
Knowledge of emergency and medical resources
Policies and Procedures - E.R. and C.R.
Hiring and training
Institutional knowledge and memory
Course design - progression and intention
Lines of communication - with institution
Clear goals and expectations established
Documentation and reporting
Learning stops, recoil to familiar habits
Potential for more serious risk
Potential for trauma and lost learning
Increases as competency increases
Create appropriate challenges
Navigating unknown internal and external realms
Safe and familiar
A good place to return to regularly
Not a place to stay for too long
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for
Environment: falling objects, altitude, loose terrain, plant, Animals, etc.
Changes over time
Elements: heat, cold, water, fire, wind
Condition and appropriateness of gear
Innate cultural elements - sexuality, gender-specific
Group: dynamics, goals, risk tolerance
Role of competition and group behavior
Hero halo - over-confidence
Time pressure or scheduling pressure
Blind spot and non-event feedback
Perceptions of risk
Outside guides and contacts
Mental and physical fitness
Group contract & cohesive dynamic
Positive and safe learning environment
Culture of diversity and inclusion
Increased competency in-line with curriculum & progression
Working styles - UIF
Culture of Feedback
Balanced skill sets
Clear communication lines
Clear decision making processes
Understanding of and buy-in to institutional expectations
Student and Instructor
Judgment=experience with critical reflection
Management happens in layers
Societal Norms, laws and taboos
Families and friends
Experience - trainings, certifications
Education - formal and informal
Skills and Abilities
Communication and conflict styles
Risk assessment = Probability vs. consequences
Unsafe Acts and/or Errors in Judgment
Reactive Risk Management
Containers are breakable and imperfect
Incident vs. accident
Don't place blame, seek to understand
Incidents passes through the cracks of the container
Establish reactive systems ahead of time
Rapport between all participants
Goals and objectives aligned
Regular feedback sessions
Following Policies and Procedures
Medical care and consultation
Evacuation protocols and insurance
Crisis response and management
Green, Yellow and Red Calls
Feedback and Review
A process for collecting and tracking risk management information
Developing helpful heuristics
System to analyze incidents and inform future policies and trainings
Policies and Procedures
Responding to incidents and violations
Rebuilding student and course containers
Conflict transformation at all levels
Risk Management happens in layers
Risk is not a four-letter word
Know and articulate your personal and institutional risk acceptance
Consider both proactive and reactive R.M. systems
6 Case Studies: Experience + Critical Reflection
Scenario 1: Cultural Norms
Your student group is currently traveling in a modest Southeast Asian country; so far, the trip has been great and the students are engaged with the people and place. One student (Jess), however, has consistently been dressing inappropriately. Despite many reminders from the instructors, she continues to wear short skirts and tanks tops to most activities. Jess is a straight “A” student and a leader among her peers, but you have also noticed that she is quite sensitive. She takes requests to change her clothing as personal criticisms and she is quite defiant when you discuss her clothing choices. Jess has also complained to her parents about the “repressive and anti-female dress code” and they are sympathetic to her complaints Despite all of your interventions, Jess showed up today at the local temple dressed inappropriately. From the instructor and administrative perspectives, how would you handle this situation?
• What are the underlying issues with Jess? How would you confront these issues?
• What other parties need to be considered besides Jess? How would you effectively communicate with these individuals or groups?
• What formal disciplinary processes are available for your instructors? What tools would aid the situation?
• What are the larger risk issues at play in this scenario?
Scenario 2: Physical and Emotional Health
Halfway through a trip, a student, Delia, has had consistent stomach issues. When asked about symptoms, Delia is consistently vague with your instructor team. She often says that her stomach just ‘hurts’ and that she does not have an appetite. Feeling worried about her symptoms, instructors took Delia to the doctor last week and her test results were completely normal leaving you with no specific medical recourse. Your instructor team has started to notice that Delia’s stomach issues often flair up around meal times and certain group activities. Delia approached the instructors today to report that her stomach pains have increased. She confessed that she has been regularly skipping breakfast and lunch. Instructors decided to let Delia skip the group activity and rest for the afternoon, but follow-up is needed. Delia has a history of anxiety and therapy; however, this was not reported to the instructors until they specifically asked.
• How should instructors and administrators handle these ongoing issues?
• What outside support might you seek? What information would be helpful?
• What are underlying issues with Delia?
• What does this student actually need? What is your action plan? Can this student stay on-course?
Scenario 3: Dog Bite
You are the Administrator for a student travel trip to Bolivia. Your field-staff call your emergency line to report a dog bite. The participant was apparently playing with a neighborhood dog when the dog nipped his ankle and broke the skin. The student is very casual about the incident and doesn’t think the bite was a big deal. The dog is owned by a local family, but they do not have rabies vaccination records for the animal. Rabies is widespread in this area of Bolivia. What is your response?
• What information do you want from the student? Field staff? Parents?
• What external parties would need to be contacted and consulted?
• What are your considerations for a possible evacuation?
• What are anticipated problems and complications?
Scenario 4: Leadership Conflict
It’s midway through a 3 week trip and tensions are high between the trip leaders, Pat, Kelly, and Rob. Pat has led several trips before, including this same trip 2 years ago, and he has been on faculty for over a decade. Though Pat has provided a lot of mentorship and support, he was not very flexible with the trip planning and has been running the trip he wants without much input from the administration or co-leaders. One of the biggest frustrations with Pat is that he often interrupts co-leaders while they are speaking in front of the group and he needs to have the final word in all group discussions and activities. Yesterday, Pat made an unsafe decision by telling students they could stay out later than the curfew Kelly and Rob had already given the students. Rob and Kelly are fed up with Pat’s leadership style and also feel that his communication is becoming a major risk issue. Rob and Kelly reach out to the administration for advice and support.
– What are the larger risk issues presented by this dynamic?
– From the instructor perspective, what communication tools would you use in this conversation?
– How would this situation be perceived and handled at different levels (students, co-staff, and Admin)?
– What, if any, formal processes might you engage?
Scenario 5: Drinking
Participants were given dinner stipends and told to report back to the main town square at 8pm for a group meeting. It is now 8:30pm and Michael is still missing. Michael is a mature, easy going, and intelligent student; he is a star on the trip and at school. Suspecting that something is amiss, instructors check out the nearby restaurants. Michael is spotted coming out of a popular tourist bar. Instructors are upset that Michael broke the curfew, but also have a strong suspicion that he was drinking with a couple of Australian travelers the group met earlier in the day. Instructors confront Michael about the curfew and possible drinking. Michael admits to drinking and is very contrite. He also alludes to the fact that other students have been drinking on the trip.
• Why is this a risk issue? What concerns are raised?
• When should instructors reach out to Admin for guidance? When and how should parents be contacted?
• What’s the plan to “investigate” other possible rule violations?
• What process or protocols would be helpful in this situation?
Scenario 6: Lost Student
On a trip in Latin America, participants are sent to lunch in groups of three with a 2 hour time limit to explore the local market and eat. Two of your more responsible participants return on time, but they are missing their third group member, Lisa. Lisa does not speak the local language and it has now been over 2 hours since she was last seen. During this time, an instructor discovers that another student, Nina, posted on Facebook about Lisa and also called her mom. How would you proceed from the field-staff and administrative perspectives?
• When do you contact local and/or international authorities? When should Admin be contacted? Parents?
• What are the considerations for an urban vs. wilderness lost person search?
• How do you manage the rest of the group?
• How do you manage the communication channels?