What is Risk Management?

There are few certainties in life. In fact, one might argue that the only certainty of life is uncertainty and the unpredictable nature of being is what defines the so-called human condition. While you can’t predict the ups and downs throughout our existence, you can still prepare for the unexpected. Managing risk can take many forms, whether it’s keeping our jobs secure, maintaining healthy friendships, or ensuring the care of our families.

 

Risk Management in Professional Life

Risk reduction in the business world requires the confidence to act when we know a risk exists. We want to project a sense of conviction and self-assurance to our coworkers and supervisors. Unfortunately, many of us still struggle with workplace anxiety. A recent study performed by the Boston College Working Project found that the majority of subjects interviewed felt nervous about their job security. They reported feeling “untethered,” and majorly concerned about losing their position or disrupting their career. Even if employee fears are unsubstantiated, the worry is real. A study by Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that 56 percent of people say their job is negatively impacted by stress, and the Center for Disease Control found that these feelings can lead to a 35 percent reduction in cognitive performance.

 

Managing these feelings of stress is all about remaining positive and pragmatic. While worrying is wasted energy, there are some actionable steps you can take to feel more confident and secure in your career. You might consider:

 

  • Requesting routine job performance one-on-ones to ensure you’re meeting metrics
  • Making a detailed list of workplace goals and documenting your progress
  • Watching webinars or taking classes to learn new skills as career development
  • Applying for promotions and career advancements
  • Speaking with a mental health professional or at-work human resources counselor

 

Regardless of what steps you take, believing in yourself and trusting your abilities is a great start. Once that workplace anxiety begins to melt away, you can address other areas of risk in your personal life.

 

Risk Management with Friends

One of the biggest parts of managing risk within your friend group is setting reasonable boundaries. We turn to our social circle for to have fun, receive advice in tough situations, and to generally feel validated in our emotions. In turn, friends will often reach out to you for the same. But when the balance feels off, or one of you is consuming an uneven amount of emotional energy from the other, it can start to feel unhealthy.

 

No one likes having a difficult conversation with a friend, but honest communication is the hallmark of any good relationship. You may, for example, feel like a friend is demanding too much of your time. While you care deeply for the individual, there is a limit to how much emotional energy or labor you can provide. In an interview with the New Yorker, anthropologist Robin Dunbar said, ““The amount of social capital you have is pretty fixed. It involves time investment. If you garner connections with more people, you end up distributing your fixed amount of social capital more thinly so the average capital per person is lower.”

 

The important thing to do here is to acknowledge your own feelings and share them openly and clearly with your friend. You might frame your feelings in terms of actionable steps, such as “I can’t talk while I’m at work,” or “I don’t want any unexpected visitors dropping by.” Whatever it is that is bothering you, speak to them sincerely. If they’re a friend worth keeping, they’ll be happy to meet your needs.

 

Risk Management with Family

Whether you have a partner and children, or just want to ensure your parents are taken care of as they age, risk management with family is about creating stability. This includes more than just emotional stability, such as tangible planning through finances and insurance coverage.

 

For young professionals, it may seem a little early, or even overwhelming, to start planning for your family’s future. However, preparing for the unexpected is of vital importance for your loved ones. According to Social Security Administration statistics, 3 out of 10 Americans who enter the workforce will face disability before retirement. If something like this happens, or even something more serious, you mitigate the risk for your family by practicing good financial health, such as:

 

  • Acquiring life insurance
  • Acquiring disability insurance
  • Contributing to a 401(k)
  • Opening trusts or IRAs

 

Risk management may seem like a fancy word for anxiety, but it’s more about being practical and planning ahead. By maintaining a sense of job security, defining your relationships with friends, and planning financially for your family, you can live much more freely knowing that you’re protected from the risk of the great unknown.

 

 

Research Best Practices

The information age is called that for a reason. With the invention of the internet, you have what seems like an infinite amount of information at your fingertips. This comes in handy when you do research for school, work, or in your free time. Whether it’s a school, business development, or family history, it’s important to compile facts. So, how do you know which sources to trust and which to disregard? Here are some research best practices.

 

What’s the Domain?

The first thing you should look at is the URL of the webpage. This can separate a trusted site from one that needs a closer look. Chances are better if the site is either government-run or linked to an educational institution. These sites will have a domain that ends with either .gov or .edu. To get these types of URLs, the institution needs to prove they are associated with an accredited school or government body according to Techwalla and Dotgov.

 

However, there are two things to keep in mind. Sometimes a school will give a student a .edu domain, so be sure to check the author’s credentials. Also, many people assume .org addresses are affiliated with nonprofits or charities, but unlike a .edu or .gov website, any organization can acquire a .org domain.

 

Look at the Author

Who wrote the piece? It says a lot that someone is willing to associate their name with information that anyone can read. While many government websites are published without an author, any news source worth its salt will attach a name to each article. Often, you can click on the name to find out more about the author, which could explain why they are an expert in the field and why they can be trusted.

 

How is the Site Designed?

While a poorly designed site may have good information, a poorly designed site can indicate something else. The first is that the information might be really old (especially if the site looks like this classic example from Angelfire from the days of yore) and therefore not the most accurate. The other is that whatever research is on the page might not be associated with the most professional organization. Most organizations now have the funding to build a professional-looking site. If the site looks outdated, it doesn’t always mean the information you find is bad, but you should investigate it more closely.

 

Check the Writing Style

Usually, if the writing style is a flatter (read boring) academic style, this could indicate a trusted source. However, if the writing features slang, personal pronouns, or anecdotal stories, you may want to stay away. Also, you should be careful of sources that don’t cite other sources or are riddled with grammar and/or spelling mistakes. These are the marks of a writer who may not be associated with a professional organization.

 

Use Your Best Judgment

After researching a specific subject for some time, you’ll start to understand what’s right and wrong. Therefore, any information that doesn’t line up with what you understand about your area of research might need a closer look. This isn’t to say that the information is bad, just that you need to be careful about using it until the source can be verified through a secondary source, such as a scientific journal or encyclopedia.

 

Getting Started

If you are just beginning the research process and don’t know where to start, try searching your topic on Wikipedia. While you should never quote from this site, you can get a solid overview of the topic. Wikipedia pages can be well-cited, so although the page itself is off-limits, there are plenty of good articles linked on the page that can useful.

 

Research on any topic can be a daunting prospect, whether you’re doing it for work, school,

or fun. Make sure to look at each source carefully so you know you are getting reliable information. Remember that using incorrect information from dubious sources could put your professional and academic life on the line, so stay alert.

Building Healthy Habits with Deseri Garcia

In today’s episode, Desiree and Chrissy sit down with Deseri Garcia, a life coach and business owner, who talks about setting goals, building healthy habits, and finding your why. Are you ready for the challenge?

Deseri Garcia is a dynamic coach, facilitator, and multisport adventure athlete. She focuses on transformational coaching, team building, and leadership development. Her goal is to genuinely connect with people and identify with them in an effort to improve both team and personal effectiveness. She works with top-level executives, directors, managers, and business owners.

External links:

Research for Persuasion

Persuasion is a powerful tool. When communicating with others, we have the ability to appeal to emotions and logic to convince someone of a position. Great thinkers like Aristotle dedicated their lives to defining and investigating persuasion. Today, we use the skill in pitching ideas, during job interviews, or even in our personal lives. For persuasion to be effective, we must establish credibility. The best way to accomplish that task is through research. Below are some ways you can bolster your position and enhance persuasion.

 

The Science of Persuasion

Psychologists have dedicated careers to the study of persuasion. Robert Cialdini is one of the most well-known experts, publishing his book “Influence: The Study of Persuasion” back in 1984. In it, he describes six principles of the process. This includes tools like authority, social proof, and consistency, suggesting that people are most persuaded when the speaker seems credible. A study published in the journal Communication Research found that statistical information is more convincing than story-based evidence. All this to say that supporting your arguments through research doesn’t dilute them – it actually makes them stronger.

 

Finding the Right Source for Persuasion

When diving into research for an argument, it’s important to rely on authoritative sources. Nothing is worse than making a passionate argument, only to find that there’s a factual error in your statements. Think of the fact-checking that occurs during political debates, and how quickly someone’s credibility crumbles when it’s revealed they’re spewing nonsense. When seeking out these sources, it’s vital to consider issues like bias, satire, or just general fake news. This is especially true in the age of the web, where it can be difficult to pin down the accuracy of information. In an effort to make this process easier, writer Joe Barker published a list of six criteria for evaluating sources. Though it was written more than a decade ago, the points are still just as relevant. Check to see if your resources have:

 

  • Authority: Who’s responsible for publishing the source? Is the information known to be reliable?
  • Accuracy: Does the writer cite their own sources? Is the work free of typographical errors?
  • Objectivity: Is the content devoid of bias? Are there statements of intent for the source?
  • Currency: Is there an indication of when the source was published or updated last?
  • Coverage: How do you evaluate the work itself? Is the piece well-written with arguments supported by fact?
  • Appearance: Does the site look well-organized? Do links and buttons work?

 

Though there is a lot of leg work that goes into sourcing your research, this list is a great start.

 

Balancing Data and Storytelling

While credible sources and diligent research benefits persuasion, it’s not the only factor. Humans respond to emotional appeals and storytelling. That’s why it’s helpful to think about how and when to use research in your arguments. It’s easy for the audience to simply tune out when all they hear is data. As Homer Simpson once said, “Oh people can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.” The important part is to tether your research to a narrative so that individuals not only understand the information, but also why it’s so important.

 

In another study performed by Robert Cialdini, a hotel chain was attempting to cut down on water and energy costs. After research showed that asking guests to reuse their towels would drastically cut spending, the hotel knew this would be a great way to reach its goals. However, research also found that individuals were 26 percent more likely to reuse their towels if they were told other guests did the same. With that in mind, the company simply created a campaign advertising this practice. The result? A lower usage of water and energy across the board. By using data and a story to inform its argument, rather than simply listing stats, the company successfully persuaded the audience.

 

Supporting your persuasive arguments with research is always a great idea. Not only does it lend credibility, but it can expose you to other perspectives. Blending the background data with a concrete narrative creates powerful emotional response for listeners. Even in this blog, we’ve used research to persuade you to use research for persuasion! Very meta, indeed.

Where and How Research is Conducted

We hear and read it all the time: “research has concluded,” “research has shown,” “new studies have found.” This might leave you wondering, just where and how is research conducted? How do the pros do research? Here’s some insight into the techniques and processes around research.

 

Scientific Research

Scientific research is the foundation of most approaches to research. This is the process of observation and information gathering. You then use that information to draw a conclusion. Good scientific research tests that new conclusion even further. A hypothesis is the tentative assumption that a researcher is trying to test during an experiment. Testing might be conducted in a lab or in the field while results are published in the news, scientific journals, and/or presented at conferences.

 

Business Research

Business research involves looking at every aspect of a company, from its internal processes to its customers to its industry competitors. This assists business owners or stakeholders make decisions, like when to open a new location or hire more staff. This research might be conducted internally, or by an outside consultant or firm. Findings might be shared through strategic initiatives, announcements, or in reports and presentations.

 

Education Research

Education research examines not only human learning processes, but the unique characteristics of a person and the elements of an environment that impact learning outcomes. There are many organizations involved in the pursuit and oversight of education research, including the National Center for Education Research and the Amercian Education Research Association. These findings often make the news and are applied in classrooms nationwide.

 

Medical Research

A clinical research study wants to answer a certain type of scientific or health question. This research begins in animals and moves to humans during clinical trials. This research might test how to use existing products in new ways or determine if new medicines or devices are effective. The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation is a nonprofit dedicated to public education about this research. Clinical trials in the U.S. are regulated and overseen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

 

Sociological Research

Sociological research is the process of identifying a topic, reviewing existing literature and findings, forming a hypothesis, and then conducting research. In the social realm, controlling variable and maintaining objectivity in sampling can be more challenging than in the hard sciences. The National Institutes of Health maintains ethical oversight and regulation of this research in the U.S.

 

Psychological Research

 

Psychological research is the analysis of behaviors or experiences to identify correlations and descriptions or learn more about the mind. Well-controlled conditions are essential to the success and validity of this research. The American Psychological Association is the leading publisher of this research in the U.S.

 

 

All these kinds of research are grounded in the scientific method, but each plays its own unique role in advancing human knowledge. Where and how research is conducted is essential to determine if it is viable information.