Risk Insider: Marilyn Rivers

Get Your ‘Football’ a Risk Manager

By: | October 15, 2015 • 2 min read
Marilyn Rivers, CPCU, ARM, AIC, currently serves as the Director of Risk and Safety - City Safety and Compliance Officer for the City of Saratoga Springs, NY and is a Director at Large and Delegate for the Government and Public Sector Division of the National Safety Council. She can be reached at riskletters@lrp.com.
Topics: ERM | Risk Insider

Full disclosure – I’m married to the PATS Nation. On the morning after that infamous game, my husband yelled through his bowl of cereal, asking me what I thought.

I replied Boyle’s and Charles’ Laws. “Boyle’s and Charles’ Laws?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “You know – the relationship between atmospheric conditions, temperature and pressure … and that thing you call a football?”

These many months later, I’ve got a different set of responses. The nation’s leagues spend and make an inordinate amount of money on a game called football. Money is invested in stadiums, fields, coaches, players and marketing campaigns that make us rabid fans who stop everything on game day to tune in, tune out to our surroundings and care about a game involving mighty men and a ball.

Most organizations have their own “football” that they try not to fumble. And when incidents occur, risk investigations require textbook fairness, transparency, cooperation, impartiality and confidentiality.

There are a multitude of contracts that govern the operation of the stadiums, vendors, upkeep of the field and the security of the environment. Collective bargaining agreements govern the administrative and facilities staffs of those stadiums, coaches, players, referees, ancillary staff and the press that report on the games.

Each has their own rules, regulations and protocols that are referred to and adhered to in the course of business conducted.

In utterly simplistic terms, the game of football involves two teams of athletes who take turns moving the ball to their assigned goal in a set period of time. They are warriors the nation idolizes on game day and critiques their abilities in the days afterward.

Is it too simplistic to say the game revolves around a ball?

In recent months, millions of dollars have been spent to examine the circumstances involving a ball, its handling and the agents responsible for its care and use – millions. Speculation, innuendo and sarcasm have been rampant over “leaked” information that has attempted to provoke and destroy.

Careers and legacy hang in the balance — all because of a football.

Most organizations have their own “football” that they try not to fumble. And when incidents occur, risk investigations require textbook fairness, transparency, cooperation, impartiality and confidentiality.

Risk management folks ask to see “equipment” and “calibration” records. They ask for weather reports and conditions. Chain of command is documented and questioned. Information gathered is held to the highest standard of care because lives and reputations under investigation are owed the venerable “innocent until proven guilty.”

Risk management isn’t about guilt, it’s about the information that pertains to the circumstances of that one moment of life – that one snapshot of time in which the event happened.

In risk management, judgment is held until after the investigation is completed and the particulars are solidified in fact, not supposition.

Change in risk management involves a capitalization on the opportunities for improvement found in that investigation. You know the drill … policies and procedures … those pesky things that ensure the incidents do not happen again if they are controllable.

What opportunities are being achieved from this situation? Can devices be standardized? Can new mandates for protocols and chains of command be better managed?

Who universally and impartially now has control of your football?

It’s time to follow the game protocols, leave behind any conspiracy theories and get your football its own risk manager.

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at riskletters@lrp.com.