Making the World a Safer Place
Avatar has several clients who have remained loyal for more than 25 years. When I say loyal, I don’t just mean in the business sense, although we’re grateful they have continued to work with us. Rather, we’re grateful that their loyalty extends to loyalty of purpose. We exist to make the world a safer place, but we can’t do it alone. We’re just tool makers. We need implementers. We create some amazingly effective tools, but they’re worthless until someone picks them up and starts using them. After all, what good is a hammer, if you don’t need to sink a few nails?
Fortunately, we have inspired several safety and risk professionals to take up our cause and embrace our mission, as if it were their own. They are loyal to our purpose and they hold executive-level roles in major corporations where they have the power to implement our risk-reducing strategies. To be fair, that use of the word “our” refers to us and them together.
Focusing on Frequency
We didn’t conjure these strategies in a vacuum. Nor are they necessarily all original ideas. We’ve learned, in partnership, with our loyal clients. We have faced huge challenges. Together, we’ve studied thought leaders and behavioral theorists from Heinrich to Lukens to Wilde. We’ve synthesized their ideas, theories and approaches to abstract our own, almost unique, ideology together. And together, we have learned the indisputable relationship between frequency and severity. Best of all, together, we have enjoyed remarkable success.
Through our loyal clients, we have made the world a safer place. Statistically, we have eliminated more than one hundred premature work-related deaths. We did that by focusing on frequency. We have reduced corporate losses, across dozens of corporations, by more than $100 million. Again, by focusing on frequency. It’s been a wonderful ride.
CEO’s are Humans Too
However, we have always been, and remain to this day, challenged to generate much loyalty with our clients’ superiors, namely their CEOs and CFOs. It comes down to two things. 1.) We do not have direct contact with the economic buyers and 2.) They are human. It’s easy to understand the first reason. Since we don’t have direct contact, we don’t have the same rich relationships with them that we have with our loyal user-buyers. The second reason, they are human, requires a quick primer in human behavior.
Simply put, humans are horrible when it comes to assessing risk. As a species we are on the same level as a wildebeest. Humans shudder in fear at the thought of shark attacks, tornadoes, house fires and snake bites. Yet they face far greater risk driving to the corner grocery store than all of these exposures combined. Risk, defined as “exposure to loss,” is insidious. It comes at you in tiny little doses, like a toothache, the flu or slipping in the shower. By the way, those three incidents cause more premature deaths than hurricanes, floods, terrorists and mass shooters combined.
Reducing Minor Losses
CEOs are human, and naturally view risk through human eyes. They were taught in MBA School to identify and solve the big corporate problems first and leave the little problems to their minions. So when it comes to risk, they tend to focus on large losses, while dismissing the importance of accident frequency. In his famous 300:29:1 theory, Heinrich demonstrated that accident frequency always leads to severity. The reverse is also true. The best way to eliminate major losses is to focus on reducing the frequency of small losses.
I hope our loyal user-buyers will have the courage to share this short article with their CEO/CFO economic-buyers and use it to convince them that the only effective approach to eliminating large losses is to focus on reducing small losses. Together, we are making the world a safer place.