Archives for March 2013

Risk Aversion and Sesame Street

Do you remember the brothers First & Last from the Sesame Street skit circa 1970? First gets everywhere ahead of his brother which sometimes gets him all the candy, but sometimes gets him a wet kiss from a shaggy monster. (Just watch it–you’ll understand baby-boomers a little better.)

At work or play, you know people who lean forward and you know people who lean back.

Is the one a good worker while the other is lazy? Is one a self-starter and the other a follower? Maybe so, maybe not. In a high risk job, moving ahead recklessly can kill. That big shaggy monster might be a high voltage primary line or a crushing hazard. Mr. Slow might actually be risk averse and thoughtful.

The tension between Fast & Slow (because you will always have both working together) is resolved by a standard process, a checklist, an approved way to do the job. Fast may say,”Why don’t we just do it already?” while Slow says, “That looks dangerous!” and both may be right. The common ground is proven procedure that works quickly & safely.

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