EHS Risk Management Lessons from Defense Against the Dark Arts

What 7 Hogwarts 'Dark Arts' Professors Can Teach You About Risk Management

September 6th, 2018

Environment, health, and safety (EHS) professionals like yourself are the defenders of well-being within an organization, working your magic to quell noncompliance, dispel hazards, and conjure a culture of safety.

But despite your best spells, it seems as though you may be cursed as the dark force of risk hangs heavily overhead.

The good news is that this darkness need not prevail. You have incredible EHS wizarding skills—and the opportunity to strengthen your powers to better manage risk. And as it turns out, despite their flaws, each of the Hogwarts Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) professors within the world of Harry Potter can provide a valuable lesson.

Join us for a course in “Defense of the EHS Arts” as we explore those lessons.

1. Professor Quirrell

 

The EHS Lesson: Risk lurks in the most unlikely of places

Professor Quirrell, the first DADA professor we meet in the epic tale, appears timid and odd. Smelling of garlic and wearing a quirky purple turban, he’s anything but threatening. But as we’ll eventually discover, the Dark Lord (a.k.a. Voldemort) has taken over his body, leading Quirrell to the attempted murder of Harry Potter.

For EHS professionals, Quirrell teaches us that risk can lurk in the most unlikely of places. As a result, it’s imperative that you to assess multiple risk scenarios so you can create a plan of attack to manage risk points.

2. Dolores Umbridge

 

The EHS Lesson: Meaningful stakeholder engagement is critical

Dolores Umbridge, who was appointed to the DADA position in 1995 by the Ministry of Magic, had a very powerful personality. Sugar, spice, and anything but nice, Umbridge was able to easily manipulate those around her. And her disdain for “half-breeds” led to her overseeing the registration and persecution of Muggle-born wizards.

It’s clear that in her pursuit of Voldemort’s vision, Umbridge is only concerned about those she sees as superior. But ultimately, her mistreatment of Muggle-born wizards (and centaurs) lands her in Azkaban prison.

For EHS professionals, Umbridge serves as an important lesson in stakeholder engagement. Without the inclusion of multiple stakeholder groups, your efforts to manage risk and foster a culture of safety will not be successful—but detrimental instead.

Read: Smart Stakeholder Engagement: 6 Tips for EHS & Sustainability Managers

3. Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody

 

The EHS Lesson: Prioritization is key to successful management

While the real Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody doesn’t have the pleasure of teaching DADA, the imposter—Barty Crouch, Jr.—does his character justice when it comes to showcasing Moody’s severe paranoia and distrust of everyone and everything.

Moody’s mantra is “Constant Vigilance,” but he also has his priorities; he prioritizes Harry’s safety above his own, ultimately contributing to Voldemort’s downfall.

So, EHS professionals, while it’s important to remain vigilant in your risk management pursuits, prioritization is also key. After all, you have limited budget and resources. By prioritizing based on the level of risk, you can craft an effective and agile management plan.

4. Remus Lupin

 

The EHS Lesson: There’s no such thing as “no risk”

Remus Lupin is arguably the most beloved DADA professor—not only because of his talent and power, but also because of his kindness. However, when it’s revealed that Lupin is a werewolf, he resigns his post knowing parents will be less than pleased with him being in close proximity to their children. And, deep down, Lupin knows he’s a risk, too.

For EHS professionals, this illuminates an important EHS truth: There’s no such thing as “no risk.” While programs may be running smoothly—and incidents are few and far between—risk still exists. And effective EHS risk management begins with accepting this simple truth.

5. Amycus Carrow

 

The EHS Lesson: Risk has no limits

Following the assault on Hogwarts Castle by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eater following, Amycus Carrow joins the professor pool—and is also charged with student punishment.

But when Carrow is installed, the “Defense Against” is dropped—giving birth to the Dark Arts curriculum, which introduces cruel curses into the classroom—and the school at large. In fact, students are instructed to practice the Cruciatus Curse, also known as the Torture Curse, on students in detention.

Carrow’s approach to his role led to torture, injustice, humiliation, the reversal of outlawed curses, and the list goes on. As it relates to EHS, this shows us that risk has no limits—and if left unchecked, it can set off a ripple effect of consequences from fines for noncompliance to damage to your company’s reputation.

6. Severus Snape

 

The EHS Lesson: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to risk management

Severus Snape, once an ardent follower of the Dark Lord, became an incredible double agent. During his time as DADA professor, he teaches students the art of nonverbal spells, showing us all his talent and range.

The purpose of nonverbal spells? To give you an advantage over an adversary. For EHS professionals, that adversary is risk—and in order to manage it effectively, you need to get crafty; you need to tailor your approach.

Learn about RiskRight EHS—our fit-for-purpose solution to meet the needs of lower-risk facilities.

7. Gilderoy Lockhart

 

The EHS Lesson: It’s OK to admit that you don’t know it all.

Gilderoy Lockhart impresses everyone he meets using his undeniable charm to convince people of his aptitude for magic and heroic accomplishments. However, we eventually discover he’s a complete fraud—save for his incredible knack for Memory Charms.

These days, there’s increasing pressure on EHS professionals to be resident experts in everything EHS—and it can be hard to admit you lack knowledge or expertise in a specific area. But let Lockhart’s humiliation be a lesson: Rather than trying to juggle it all and risk disaster, rely on your strengths, admit when you’re not the expert, and look for a solution—like EHS consulting services—to add bench strength.

Defend Your Organization Against Risk

While every EHS professional wishes they could defeat the dark forces of risk, the truth is that risk never dies. However, it can be managed.

Remember that risk can lurk in unusual places and successful risk management involves stakeholder collaboration, prioritization, and a customized approach. Finally, remember you don’t have to do it alone. By combining your internal forces with external EHS experts, you can create an army of defenders to leviosa your risk management efforts.

How have we helped our clients add some magic to their EHS and risk management programs? Check out our robust archive of EHS case studies.

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