Threat Assessment in 3 Easy Steps

In this blog, we take you through the three most common levels of threats and which type of response is required for each one. By understanding which threats may impede your strategic planning activities, you know how and when to respond to them.

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Here’s a transcription of the video above:

Hi, I’m Henry Evans, Change Excellence Officer at Dynamic Results. Today I’m going to talk to you about risk assessment or I think if we put it in more pragmatic terms: Threat Assessment. You’re probably used to hearing us talk about softer subjects like emotionally intelligent leadership, and how to build accountability in your culture. But we’re helping an organization help execute their strategic plan, you can do that using a method we’ve developed. It’s based on our book “Winning with Accountability: The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” and it helps organizations declare and move toward their desired destinations in the future. As part of that process, they need to think about all the threats and obstacle that might get in the way of implementing that plan, and we want our clients to have a systematic way of thinking about these threats and prioritizing them so that they allocate the right things at the right time.

We think that these threats can be categorized into three basic categories:

The first one we call Incubating. An incubating one is a threat that may not yet be visible, but you have some data or an idea or you just have some intuitive feeling that tells you it may be a threat to your plan. And we think that in those cases you should be looking at them.

The next higher level of threat is what we call Emerging Threat. This is a threat that has manifested but may not be affecting your organization at this time. An example might be that you see a trend emerging in the marketplace that is adversely affecting some of your competitors that you’ve staved off so far but you know will come and get you at some point.

The highest level of threat is an Acute Threat. So to use a quick metaphor, if I were in a restaurant, and there was a guy on the other side of the room and maybe I thought or it was some feeling that he was just going to come across the room and punch me in the face, we would call that an incubated threat, it has not manifested. But if the guy gets up and starts moving or saying things in a threatening manner, we would call that an emerging threat. Now, if he comes up and actually swings and connects, then that’s an acute threat. I’m now being impacted by a threat; that’s the most severe kind.

We think there’s an appropriate level of response for each of these escalating levels of threat. So, if you see that you have an incubated threat, we’d like to see you use what we call a preventative measure. This might mean you start a negotiation or discussion you aren’t currently in, and it means you collect more data and start to investigate it.

If you have an emerging threat, you do something to resolve it. It might mean you take away a resource that’s causing it, or you add resources that could help mitigate it.

If you have the acute level of threat, that you’re actually being impacted, we want you to do something that acts accordingly, something that involves immediate action. This is something that means changing your position so you’re not in the same vulnerable state. To back to that fighting metaphor, if somebody were to swing at me, I’d want to be moving out of the way to avoid that punch. We would want you to do that with your organization, make a move, change something tangibly. This might mean you can’t do an adequate amount of research, it might mean you won’t know all there is to about the problem.

We are always trying to give you quick, concise ways to improve your business, and we hope we’ve done that now. We looking forward to speaking with you again.

Learn more about threat assessment within a culture of accountability.

As always, we welcome your comments. Join us on facebook to share your experiences or email us at [email protected].

2 replies
  1. Bernard Clyde
    Bernard Clyde says:

    I appreciate you listing these three categories of threats that you could face. It’s important to have a good understanding of what threats you may face personally or in your business, depending on your situation. That way, you can take the needed precautions and have the right information for how to respond effectively and diffuse the situation.


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