Author: Michele Wucker

Michele Wucker is a policy and business strategist and author of four books including YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK: The New Art and Science of Navigating an Uncertain World and the global bestseller THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore. Read more about her at https://www.thegrayrhino.com/about/michelewucker

Each one of us has a risk personality that is as distinct as a fingerprint. Our risk fingerprints start with our underlying personality traits, which you might think of as the ridges, arches, loops, and whorls that give the fingerprint structure and make it distinctive. Our experiences alter the fingerprint much as a cut might leave a scar. Just as a real fingerprint offers forensic analysts clues to identity, the risk fingerprint offers a window into who each of us is: how we feel about authority and power, about our sense of human agency, how we relate to each other in groups, and broader cultural differences that can make societies particularly risk sensitive or risk blind. It sheds light on what people hope and fear—and why—and how much power they feel they and their leaders have over the world around them.

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In the wake of medication and personal protective equipment shortages in 2020 and the Texas winter weather energy debacle in early 2021, Charley Grant of The Wall Street Journal quoted Michele Wucker in the article “Losing Dollars by Pinching Pennies: When Short-Termism Goes Bad,” published March 20, 2021. The article looked at the costs of corporate failures to adequately prepare for preventable surprises. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE [paywall].

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As thrilling as it is to see a new book being “born” it’s also a bit terrifying for authors to release our ideas into the world. Will people “get” what we’re talking about? Will they disagree? Will they find an error that went uncaught? Worst of all, will they decide not to pay attention at all? It’s risky to invite readers to embrace and adapt an idea, because they sometimes mean it in ways we’d prefer them not to.

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The next chapter of the Texas deep freeze/blackout saga has begun, with bankruptcies, obscene energy bills, and lawsuits. This was a market failure as well as an engineering, forecasting, planning and resilience disaster. Texas’ deep freeze was the result of a series of deliberate choices about risk: who gets rewarded for risk taking, who pays the price for risks gone bad, and what protections are in place for risk decisions that don’t work out. Energy policy is not the only Texas risk choice in the news. When Governor Greg Abbott lifted all mask mandates and opened businesses back to full capacity despite…

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The deep freeze that has held Texas in its grip this week brought back memories –definitely not “warm” ones—of the ice storm that caused blackouts and brownouts in Houston in December 1989. At the time, I was living in the Dominican Republic, where “unreliable” would have been generous at best in describing the power supply. Multiple, hours-long daily blackouts were the norm. If the power came back everyone dropped everything else in order to do whatever required electricity. That winter, I was so excited to spend the holidays in Texas visiting my family and my friends at Rice University, from…

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At the risk of gross understatement: What a year 2020 has been. And yet… Even with the enormous human cost of the pandemic in lives and livelihoods, even with the protests and angst and upheaval, even as terrible as 2020 has been, the gut-wrenchingly volatile past 11 months hold two glimmers of hope. First, the argument for systemic change is as strong as it has been in recent years. And second, surprisingly: even though the year could have and should have gone much better, it still could have been even worse. On the season wrap of the Breaking the Fever podcast this…

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Hugo Alconada Mon interviewed Michele Wucker in La Nación (Argentina) in an article entitled “Coronavirus. Michele Wucker: “El Covid-19 fue como una bestia inminente, a la carga y enojada” and published November 18, 2020. The interview covered the pandemic, gray rhino theory, the gray rhinos the pandemic has stirred up, leadership, and a bonus: books and binge-watching recommendations.

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Michele Wucker spoke about “Learning to Navigate an Uncertain World” at Experiencia IDEA Management 2020 in Buenos Aires virtually November 18, 2020. Laura Gé, Senior Advisor to Grupo Sancor Seguros and titular Director of Banco Santander Argentina, led the conversation. https://youtu.be/mJKk-14WnL0 Martina Lombardini wrote about the event for La Nación, “El rol de los líderes, entre la pandemia y las recurrentes crisis argentinas.”

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