Risk Insider: Patty Hostine

The Power to Fail Small

By: | March 19, 2018 • 3 min read
Patricia Hostine, MBA, ARM-E, LPC, CRC, MSCC, CWCP, CLMS has more than 25 years’ experience in workers’ compensation from both the vendor and corporate perspectives. She is the Program Leader- Case Management Domino’s Pizza, LLC – Supply Chain. She can be reached at [email protected]

As risk managers we need to have the ambition to push for change in organizations — no small thing — and yet have the appetite and the constitution to “fail small” in getting there. Let me explain what I mean.


Over the years, I’ve had ideas that I thought would have an impact within workers’ compensation programs. I’ve been fortunate to be able to establish and continuously improve three employer-based programs.

Having started my career in case management, I worked with many employees of various employers and saw the differences that a strong employer program could have on the outcome of their recovery process.

I always saw my role as that of a tight rope walker: To stay on the rope (the Workers’ Compensation Act) without skewing too far to either the right or left while keeping balance (e.g. guided by ethics and morals).

In a previous Risk Insider post, I talked about of my philosophy of Firm, Fair and Friendly. This tight-rope walker act falls into the same realm. When given the opportunity to create programs, I want to use my experience to get creative. But innovation and creation can be a hard “sell” when measuring the return on the investment.

I’ve got an MBA and a counseling degree, which sometimes feel like they are pulling me in different directions. How to provide the best services while maintaining empathy and also meet financial goals is a real challenge.

My dual training opens me up to some interesting internal discussions. But in terms of claims management, with its current focus on an advocacy-based approach, those dual qualifications are coming in handy.

As risk professionals, we look at the risk and look for ways to mitigate it. If we mitigate all risk, how do we grow and improve, not only our programs but personally? We trial, we fail and we improve the idea.

Creation, change and innovation are hard and frightening. Sometimes it is about measuring the risk and reward. If I try this, what could be the outcome? If I fail, what is the risk? What kind of risk is it? Is the risk to me, the company, the injured worker or financial/legal exposure?

As risk professionals, we look at the risk and look for ways to mitigate it. If we mitigate all risk, how do we grow and improve, not only our programs but personally? We run a  trial, we fail and then we improve the idea.

Something I learned in the past year is to give yourself permission to “fail small.” Take big ideas and big changes and create small pilot programs, while continuously improving the process. This allows for small failures to level the path to success.

This approach also provides a baseline for the return on investment. What works in one setting might not work in another; the same is true for different results in different industries.


Figuring out if nurse triage, video physicians or physical therapy or information packets will work in a current situation may require a small trial. If it is successful — great, if it requires tweaking — great, if it fails — not great but still beneficial!

Knowing what is not going to offer employee satisfaction and/or financial return is just as important as knowing what produces progress. Merely knowing you can fail small and survive is very empowering and freeing.

Each success overshadows the failures. We learn, grow and shine brightest when we feel successful.

So, as we move through 2018, give yourself permission to fail small. Reach out…improve…change…create…expand…have courage; as without the failure there is no improvement.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

As a professor of business, Jack Hampton knows firsthand the positive impact education has on risk managers as they tackle growing risks.
By: | April 9, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

Ellen Thrower, president (retired), The College of Insurance, introduced me to the importance of insurance as a component of risk management. Further, she encouraged me to explore strategic and operational risk as foundation topics shaping the role of the modern risk manager.

Chris Mandel, former president of RIMS and Risk Manager of the Year, introduced me to the emerging area of enterprise risk management. He helped me recognize the need to align hazard, strategic, operational and financial risk into a single framework. He gave me the perspective of ERM in a high-tech environment, using USAA as a model program that later won an excellence award for innovation.

Bob Morrell, founder and former CEO of Riskonnect, showed me how technology could be applied to solving serious risk management and governance problems. He created a platform that made some of my ideas practical and extended them into a highly-successful enterprise that served risk and governance management needs of major corporations.

R&I: How did you come to work in this industry?


From a background in corporate finance and commercial banking, I accepted the position of provost of The College of Insurance. Recognizing my limited prior knowledge in the field, I became a student of insurance and risk management leading to authorship of books on hazard and financial risk. This led to industry consulting, as well as to the development of graduate-level courses and concentrations in MBA programs.

R&I: What was your first job?

The provost position was the first job I had in the industry, after serving as dean of the Seton Hall University School of Business and founding The Princeton Consulting Group. Earlier positions were in business development with Marine Transport Lines, consulting in commercial banking and college professorships.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Creating a risk management concentration in the MBA program at Saint Peter’s, co-founding the Russian Risk Management Society (RUSRISK), and writing “Fundamentals of Enterprise Risk Management” and the “AMA Handbook of Financial Risk Management.”

A few years ago, I expanded into risk management in higher education. From 2017 into 2018, Rowman and Littlefield published my four books that address risks facing colleges and universities, professors, students and parents.

Jack Hampton, Professor of Business, St. Peter’s University

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

The Godfather. I see it as a story of managing risk, even as the behavior of its leading characters create risk for others.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Jameson’s Irish whiskey. Mixed with a little ice, it is a serious rival for Johnny Walker Gold scotch and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Mount Etna, Taormina, and Agrigento, Sicily. I actually supervised an MBA program in Siracusa and learned about risk from a new perspective.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?


Army Airborne training and jumping out of an airplane. Fortunately, I never had to do it in combat even though I served in Vietnam.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

George C. Marshall, one of the most decorated military leaders in American history, architect of the economic recovery program for Europe after World War II, and recipient of the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize. For Marshall, it was not just about winning the war. It was also about winning the peace.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

Sharing lessons with colleagues and students by writing, publishing and teaching. A professor with a knowledge of risk management does not only share lessons. The professor is also a student when MBA candidates talk about the risks they manage every day.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

Sensitizing for-profit, nonprofit and governmental agencies to the exposures and complexities facing their organizations. Sometimes we focus too much on strategies that sound good but do not withstand closer examination. Risk managers help organizations make better decisions.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?


Developing executive training programs to help risk managers assume C-suite positions in organizations. Insurance may be a good place to start but so is an MBA degree. The Risk and Insurance Management Society recognizes the importance of a wide range of risk knowledge. Colleges and universities need to catch up with RIMS.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Cyber risk and its impact on hazard, operational and financial strategies. A terrorist can take down a building. A cyber-criminal can take down much more.

R&I: What does your family think you do?

My family members think I’m a professor. They do not seem to be too interested in my views on risk management.

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]