WATCH REPLAY: Geoff Trickey at #RAW2022 – Understanding your team risk types to make better decisions

Why limiting operatives to a tightly choreographed task procedure will not help you achieve zero incidents. People are different from one another largely because they each have base-line risk dispositions that reflect their emotionality and their cognition. This effects every day life; the way an individual ‘reads’ the world around them and the way that they react.

Nature invests widely in the persistence and continuity of life. Its main strategy is to hedge its bets – evolving an extraordinary diversity of life forms – many of which are dead-ends because the environment no longer supports them. All depend on the survival strategy they were endowed with. Humanity is the star survivor, powering on to world dominance. The reason for this success is that homo sapiens has almost infinite survival strategies. The old brain gives us emotion and the newest parts give us cognition. Both, independently, are subject to ‘normal’ variation producing extreme diversity in risk dispositions due to all the possible permutation of emotion and cognition. Individually, we make decisions under the influence of FEELINGS (fears, anxieties or lack of) and THOUGHTS (reasoning and evaluation of information). So, this is far from being a ‘one size fits all’ situation. Vigilance, attention to detail, resentment, confidence, anxiety, concentration levels, urgency, composure, resistance to change, innovation, excitability and more, will be reflected in a persons Risk Type. In fact, risk disposition can be expressed by a position in a continuously incremented 360o spectrum (think dart board, clock or compass) created by two orthogonal axes, one axis for Emotion and and one axis for Cognition. But dividing this space into eight segments (one for each Risk Type) assists risk identification, interpretation and communication.

Depending on the task or the rule; a tiny minority would be natural performers. All the rest will need help in developing the required ‘mind set’. Understanding your own Risk Type is an essential starting point. It provides insight concerning the challenges posed by that task or demand for any individual. As a part of induction for any risk critical role – this is the obvious starting point. It is the basis for a ‘coaching’ style approach that respects the challenges posed and a constructive basis for assisting employees in improving their performance. That is a regime of openness, trust and mutual respect. It’s a winner.


30 years ago I founded Psychological Consultancy Limited (PCL), developing and publishing peer reviewed psychometric assessments. Having honed my psychometrics and test publishing expertise at The Psychological Corporation – San Antonio I was then schooled in personality assessment through close collaboration with Bob and Joyce Hogan at Hogan Assessment Systems in Tulsa during the period when personality assessment transitioned from one-on-one paper-and pencil-administration, to computer base assessment. At PCL we research and develop psychometric tools for publication or for a commissioning client. We offer a range of business psychology services. Following the 2008 financial crisis, the regulatory requirement for financial intermediaries to take into account the risk appetite of their clients triggered our development of the Risk Type Compass (RTC). The realisation that risk taking was intrinsic to personality, rather than an external correlate, set the parameters for this highly reliable instrument and its adoption across an ever widening range of applications and other language editions.

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