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What Curling Can Teach Us About Risk

Or.. Why curlers make the best risk managers.


Curling Can Teach Us About Risk
Curling Can Teach Us About Risk

Risk management is an essential aspect of every business, organization, or even our personal lives. It involves identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks, as well as implementing strategies to minimize or avoid them. But did you know we can learn valuable lessons about risk management from the game of curling?


Curling is a popular winter sport particularly in Canada that involves two teams of four players each, sliding stones on an ice sheet towards a circular target. The game requires skill, strategy, and teamwork. But it also involves taking calculated risks and making decisions that can either lead to opportunities or backfire.


Here are some lessons we can learn from curling when it comes to risk management:


Understanding risk and opportunity


In curling, players must weigh the risks and opportunities of each shot. For example, they may choose to play a more difficult shot that could result in a higher score, but also has a higher risk of failure. Alternatively, they could play a safer shot that has a lower risk of failure, but also a lower potential reward.


Similarly, in business or personal life, we must assess the risks and opportunities of each decision. It's essential to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option, weigh them against each other, and make informed choices.


Preventive and mitigative measures


In curling, players take preventive and mitigative measures to reduce the risks of their shots. They carefully plan their shots, consider the position and angle of the stones, and use sweeping techniques to control the speed and direction of the stones.


In risk management, preventive measures aim to avoid or reduce risks before they occur. Mitigative measures aim to minimize the impact of risk when it becomes a reality. Both preventive and mitigative measures are essential to effective risk management, and should be considered when developing risk management strategies.


Adaptive measures


In curling, players must be adaptable and able to adjust their strategies based on changing circumstances. For example, they may need to change their strategy if the ice conditions change, or if the other team makes unexpected moves.


Similarly, in risk management, it is essential to be adaptable and able to adjust strategies based on changing circumstances. Risk management plans should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect new risks, changing priorities, or changes in the business or personal environment.


Knowing when to take risks and when to play it safe


In curling, players must make strategic decisions about when to take risks and when to play it safe. For example, they may take a risk if they are behind in the game and need to catch up, or they may play it safe if they have a lead and do not want to risk losing it.


Similarly, in risk management, it is important to know when to take risks and when to play it safe. Sometimes, taking a risk can lead to significant rewards, while other times it can lead to catastrophic consequences. Knowing the difference is crucial to winning the game and mission success.


Skip stones


Skips on curling teams and risk managers share similarities in their roles and responsibilities. Both skips and risk managers are tasked with making strategic decisions that have a significant impact on the outcome of their respective endeavours.


Skips must decide the best course of action for their team during a curling match, assessing the playing conditions, their team's strengths and weaknesses, and the opponent's tactics.


Similarly, risk managers must make informed decisions to protect their organization from potential risks and hazards, analyzing the risks involved, the potential impact, and the most effective risk mitigation strategies. Both skips and risk managers need to be highly skilled at analyzing and interpreting complex information, making sound decisions under pressure, and communicating their decisions effectively to their team or organization.


The game of curling teaches us valuable lessons about risk management. By understanding risk and opportunity, taking preventive and mitigative measures, being adaptable, and knowing when to take risks and when to play it safe, we can make better decisions in our personal and professional lives.


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