My second blog post originally touched on best practices of performance management, but after lecture this Saturday and an event that occurred with my team project, I thought it would be more interesting to touch on risk management. Professor Cook briefly touched on an important topic merely highlighted in the text and that is not discussed enough, opportunities, Chap 7 page 227. I never thought that an opportunity could be classified as a risk, until I experienced one.
My team/I have been working our networks to secure funds and increase awareness for the GCFD. Throughout our campaign, my networks have been extremely supportive of our mission and the GCFD. One connection, through a former DePaul teammate, seemed like a golden opportunity that I was definitely ready to exploit. Our team was connected with a food company that makes food items for large restaurant chains, as well as food service companies like Sysco. The company already had a connection with GCFD through monthly donations, but wanted to jump on board to support our campaign by donating as many pounds of food that we could take (share). I initially thought, “This opportunity is unreal! We’re going to blow our 9,000 pound goal out of the water.” After weeks of corresponding with our contact and GCFD (enhance) to donate the food items and confirm a pick up date (accept), the golden opportunity fell through the cracks. How did this golden opportunity turn into a risk? Everything was coordinated and clearly communicated, right? No. This turned out to not be the case.
The team was originally set to receive the entire 9,000 pounds. However, GCFD did not have the capacity to store the items because they were refrigerated/frozen items, as opposed to non-perishable items, which our campaign is based on collecting. A vast difference that I didn’t realize until after communication with both parties ensued, which in retrospect was scope creep on our own campaign. Our 9,000 pounds of food quickly dwindled down to 900 pounds, which was not the end of the world, but my spirit was a little crushed. We had already secured about 80% of our goal, and had a little over a week to finish strong.
The evening before the food item pick up was scheduled; I received a surprise email that our contact had worked hard to secure 4,000 pounds of food to donate on behalf our team to GCFD. I emailed GCFD to confirm, and the driver would be on site in the morning. The driver showed up the next day, and our contact emailed me, “The driver refused to take the food, what happened?” My immediate reaction was to follow up on my end to find the disconnect and fix it, ASAP. How could I fix this? Where was my contingency plan? I had none.
Once GCFD followed up, I learned that the food item storage dates were outside of the accepted time frame. I didn’t realize the risks associated with food item date ranges, and how this could impact receiving donations.
I don’t know if there is a way to make up for this missed opportunity, but I have definitely learned a lesson on practicing due diligence and realizing that opportunities can not only pose positive but also unassuming negative risks. The positive is that we were able to make a connection, and maybe someone else will be able to use this information for their team project. The negative is, we not only loss on an opportunity to make a large donation, but our credibility may have be compromised.
Has anyone experienced an opportunity that resulted in a risk/loss at either their company or within their teams? If so, how did you resolve and/or develop a contingency plan to counter the loss?