Perilous (adj),

Exposed to imminent risk of disaster or ruin

What if I told you… That the secrets to unlocking your business’ financial
success is not in how you grapple with the fast changing economy of the
future, but in learning from the repeated mistakes of organisations through

Company success is critical, therefore businesses take calculated risks and reap the rewards from their endeavours.

Often, company directors and senior management discuss health and safety as paramount.


Since the very first listing of a company in 1602, by the Dutch East India Company, businesses have sought to innovate and achieve success.

“To protect themselves, businesses should spend time understanding what
specific threats they may be exposed to and speak to experts who can help.”
—Inga Beale, CEO Lloyds

Every good director and senior manager would say that they are confident that they have delivered a robust model and culture for health and safety.

How regularly is this model checked?

• How does a director or senior manager know that what they perceive to be true is in fact transferred to the ‘working-front’ of their organisation?

• Are the words we say in the boardroom and within senior management actually how the business operates?

1. What if one single event were to align, in a perilous sequence, to produce a
set of circumstances that leads to an accident?

2. What if those circumstances also aligned with external circumstances, which
created a monumental catastrophe?

If point 1 above could occur, then you are at the whim of external circumstances for point 2. It is out of your locus of control.

The table below...

is the Board of Director’s understanding of how their business operates on a daily basis. It represents how your organisation aspires to execute the Board’s strategic intent.

However the table below...

is more indicative of how businesses operate every day. There are ongoing attempts to shortcut procedures and policies and management tolerance to poor behaviours, which need to be continuously managed.

This is what a catastrophe looks like

is the Board of Director’s understanding of how their business operates on a daily basis. It represents how your organisation aspires to execute the Board’s strategic intent.

If you accept that Table 2 is a reflection of how your business could look, then you are
reasonably accepting that the 'swiss cheese model' above is a possibility for your business

Most businesses experience the Perilous Sequence a number of times per year. It can look quite innocuous. It might be a staff vehicle accident, it might be an operator accident, and it might be a small spill of chemicals. In each of these circumstances where
the Perilous Sequence was ‘unlocked’, the business has been lucky that the exposure has not been severe. The business has not been in control of the outcomes, rather the outcomes did not align to a catastrophe.

On one bad day, the Perilous Sequence could align and meet with external factors (beyond management control) to produce a single and catastrophic event, which could wipe out all of the efforts that the company has made to date, and worse, for years to come.


1. Learn From History

On a cold night in 2014, the titanic set sail from England to the US. The White Star Shipping group had a policy that ‘Safety –outweighs every other consideration’. Through a series of events the Perilous Sequence was unlocked.
The external event was an iceberg. The ‘chocolate wheel’ landed on Catastrophic. More than 1500 people died.
Our biggest lesson today is that despite expectations, the talk, written policies and procedures, how does your business ACTUALLY perform relative to how it should?

Once you have experienced the Perilous Sequence the senior management and directors have absolved themselves of control over the outcomes. This is the equivalent to having a ‘Free-Spin’ on what we call the Perilous Chocolate Wheel. You allow external factors to determine the extent of your business outcomes



2. Why is This Important now?

If you are spinning a chocolate wheel on your business outcomes, you should be aware of what the prizes are. You need to be comfortable with the outcomes. In June 2020 Australia has recorded the first sentence of a Director, with a criminal
conviction for Industrial Manslaughter. Now more than ever before, Directors and senior management need to be cognisant of the crucial role that they have, in stewarding their businesses effectively.


3. Independent and Confidential Audit

Perilous can test your Board and Senior Management to independently verify your  existing systems and processes. Most importantly we verify your capability in response to these types of situations and draw your attention to ‘what could go wrong’? You will receive an independent and comprehensive report on your Board or Management Team’s effectiveness at delivering to the standards you believe already

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. Contact us today.

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