Michele Wucker is specialist in risk management and crisis anticipation and is author of the book “The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore”. While we’ve all become familiar with Taleb’s concept of Black Swans, we must equally become intimately aquatinted with Wucker’s Gray Rhinos as they provide more obvious opportunities for actually anticipating and managing risk.
During this interview, Michele takes us through the concept of Gray Rhinos with real-world historical examples, discussion of future Gray Rhinos, and strategies for engaging in real actions to identify, respond to, and mitigate future Gray Rhinos in business, society, and global affairs. The concept of a Gray Rhino is hugely important and has become embedded in how we evaluate risks at OODA with our customers.
More about Michele
Applying three decades of global experience in media, finance, and non-profit management and content creation, I help decision makers take a fresh look at and improve their strategies for confronting obvious but under-addressed business and policy challenges. My next book is YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK: The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World (Pegasus Books, April 2021).
YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK is a sequel of sorts to THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore (St Martin’s Press 2016), an international bestseller with translations published in Hungary, Korea, China, Taiwan, Norway, and forthcoming in Brazil. It has been highly influential in Chinese financial risk policy. I also am the author of LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right (Public Affairs, 2006) and WHY THE COCKS FIGHT: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola (FSG/Hill & Wang, 1999), a social and political history of the Dominican Republic’s turbulent relationship with Haiti and the United States.
Specialties: risk management, crisis anticipation, global finance, global economic trends, global risk, debt crisis, global immigration trends, economic impact of immigration, citizenship regimes, China, Latin America, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Europe, emerging markets, leadership, women.
Organizations in competitive environments should continually look for ways to gain advantage over their competitors. The ability of a business to learn and translate that learning into action, at speeds faster than others, is one of the most important competitive advantages you can have. This fact of business life is why the model of success in Air to Air combat articulated by former Air Force fighter pilot John Boyd, the Observe – Orient – Decide – Act (OODA) decision loop, is so relevant in business decision-making today.
In this business model, decisions are based on observations of dynamic situations tempered with business context to drive decisions and actions. These actions should change the situation meaning new observations and new decisions and actions will follow. This all underscores the need for a good corporate intelligence program. See: A Practitioner’s View of Corporate Intelligence
This post dives into actionable recommendation on ways to optimize a corporate intelligence effort. It is based on a career serving large scale analytical efforts in the US Intelligence Community and in applying principles of intelligence in corporate America. See: Optimizing Corporate Intelligence
Cognitive Bias and the errors in judgement they produce are seen in every aspect of human decision-making, including in the business world. Companies that have a better understanding of these cognitive biases can optimize decision making at all levels of the organization, leading to better performance in the market. Companies that ignore the impact these biases have on corporate decision-making put themselves at unnecessary risk. This post by OODA Co-Founder Bob Gourley provides personal insights into key biases as well as mitigation strategies you can put in place right now. See: An Executive’s Guide To Cognitive Bias in Decision Making
We strongly encourage every company, large or small, to set aside dedicated time to focus on ways to improve your ability to understand the nature of the significantly changed risk environment we are all operating in today, and then assess how your organizational thinking should change. As an aid to assessing your corporate sensemaking abilities, this post summarizes OODA’s research and analysis into optimizing corporate intelligence for the modern age. See: OODA On Corporate Intelligence In The New Age
This post discusses standards in intelligence, a topic that can improve the quality of all corporate intelligence efforts and do so while reducing ambiguity in the information used to drive decisions and enhancing the ability of corporations to defend their most critical information. See: Useful Standards For Corporate Intelligence
Broadly speaking, a weapon is anything that provides an advantage over an adversary. In this context, data is, and always has been, a weapon. This post, part of our Intelligent Enterprise series, focuses on how to take more proactive action in use of data as a weapon. See: Data is a Weapon
Fine Tuning Your Falsehood Detector: Time to update the models you use to screen for deception, dishonesty, corruption, fraud and falsity
The best business leaders are good at spotting falsehoods. Some joke and say the have a “bullshit detector”, but that humorous description does not do service to the way great leaders detect falsehoods. Bullshit is easy to detect. You see it and smell it and if you step in it it is your own fault. In the modern world falsehoods are far more nuanced. Now more than ever, business and government leaders need to ensure their mental models for detecting falsehood are operating in peak condition. For more see: Fine Tuning Your Falsehood Detector: Time to update the models you use to screen for deception, dishonesty, corruption, fraud and falsity