Monday, 18 August 2008

Holidays, fun and risk

Holidays away from home are fraught with risks. You are in an unfamiliar place, exposed to unfamiliar weather, eating unfamiliar food and without the restraints that normally you recognise. On top of all of this you have the absurd expectation that, because you are on holiday, nothing can go wrong. Truth is you don't want to think about details when you are on holiday.

I have seen a middle aged European holidaymaker agree to be strapped into a parachute harness and towed into the sky by a motor launch off a Phuket beach whilst a Thai lad, sitting on his shoulders, manipulated the parachute cords to steer him around the bay. To make matters worse the boat did not have a clear run to get up speed, but had to weave its way through the swimmers near the beach.

The issue was not did he have insurance - it would probably not have paid out if there had been an accident - but why did he not recognise the danger and the slapdash nature of the people who he was about to risk his life with. Maybe he was too laden with alcohol to take a sensible view, even more likely he thought it a good idea at the time and, his protective mantra was " nothing can go wrong, 'cos I'm on holiday." Nine times out of ten there was no problem, but those are only slightly better odds than Russian roulette.

The same lack of thought can happen on company away days, where risks are taken, often by the chief executive, with the whole management team, in the interests of bonding. There is usually no attempt to understand the risks and to get the team to find ways of mitigating them, there is just the focus on the goal of having a good time and there is sometimes an element of bullying . Directors who allow such thoughtless risk taking may find themselves faced with a corporate manslaughter charge if things go wrong. On holiday you're on your own.

1 comment:

Raymond Breen said...

No one appears to understand risk when they go on hols as they
normally feel that as they are on hols then they can turn their brain off. In
my experience I often see that holiday makers feel that someone else will have thought that through, ie the risk, and it would already be covered.
Unfortunately it ain't always the case.