Perceptions of danger and safety in the comfort zone
Safety & Performance, opposing forces?
Often safety and performance in an individual or organisational context are deceptively seen as opposing forces. In this line of thinking, doing things out of the ordinary brings about unknown risks. As such, this is considered being dangerous and therefore people think that safety is best served by refraining from taking action. This attitude towards risk is habitually linked to the way how managers traditionally consider risk and risk management. For them, risk management is a way to prevent bad things from happening and this mainly by imposing restrictions on what one can do. As a result, they are staying in their comfort zone and try to keep people from doing unexpected and possibly dangerous things.
The comfort zone and opportunity for learning
Unfortunately, this way of thinking is also frequently applicable to individuals. Certainly when these individuals have strong routines and are used to their comfort zone. Moving outside the comfort zone is perceived as hazardous and as something that could bring about disaster. For these people, staying within the comfort zone is considered being the safer option. Consequently, such attitude is keeping the individual from taking action and disconnected from learning new things and from developing oneself.
Individuals and organisations are alike
It is my experience that what is true for individuals also counts for organisations. So, organisations also have their comfort zones and staying within the company’s comfort zone is considered to be safe, while change is perceived as being threatening and something that needs to be avoided. It is why change in most companies is not welcomed and why it generally meets a lot of resistance.
What is true?
However, one could ask oneself is this really the case? Is staying within one’s comfort zone sound and safe? Is it possible to remain disconnected from real learning in our fast changing world and society today? I don’t think so!
Change and innovation, sources of safety and performance
Today it is important to be able to leave one’s comfort zone. Rapid change and an evolving society requires organisations and individuals to adapt and innovate. So how can organisations and individuals remain safe while improving their performance and how can they stay safe while taking action?
A website and a newsletter!
Change is served with alignment and leaving the comfort zone safely requires a modern view on risk management. This is what BYAZ is all about. Helping individuals and organisations to leave their comfort zone and progress. On our website you can find opportunities to develop yourself or your company and regularly we will spread our ideas and offers via a newsletter. To read the articles in this newsletter and seize the opportunities offered, join our mailing list (see the side bar) and eventually you’ll find out how to perform and progress safely!
Since September 2014, Peter is also employed at TUDelft, working as a PhD researcher for the Safety Sciences section of the Technology Policy and Management faculty.
As the managing director of G31000 Europe he is now a trainer and consultant using the ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard.
Some of his articles can be read on LinkedIn