“Optimism bias (also known as unrealistic or comparative optimism) is a cognitive bias that causes a person to believe that they are at a lesser risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others.”
Are you an optimist? The probability is apparently 50/50 that you are. 50% of us see the glass as half empty and the other 50% see it as half full.
But up to 80% of us suffer, or enjoy, another form of positivity known as optimism bias. The belief that we are at a lesser risk of experiencing a negative event than others. People who have an optimism bias do irrational things, like systematically ignoring concrete information about risk.
In one test, when test subjects were informed that they had underestimated their odds of contracting a disease or becoming a victim of crime, they failed to revise their estimates and still clung to their earlier belief that they would probably avoid the negative event.
Other studies have found that lacking optimism bias is a reliable indicator of depression and anxiety. Humans, in other words, are built to see the world as a sunnier place than it is. It’s a survival instinct not to spend time worrying about events which are mostly beyond our control, bad weather, disease and freak accidents.
The events may be beyond our control, but our ability to prepare to survive them is not. On an individual level, the risks tend to be statistically lower and more unpredictable (car crashes, household accidents, etc.) but on a corporate level the risks are multiplied many times over and are more predictable. Power outage, loss of internet, fire, flood and data loss are all highly predictable events if you work in business.
Being overly optimistic might make you a sunnier person to work with, but it won’t be accepted as an excuse if you have failed to prepare for a business disruption event that shuts down your company.
SMEs are more likely than bigger businesses to take such a chance, being shorter of resources and personnel to dedicate to the task of preparing for a business disruption event. But they are more at risk of greater losses, longer down, time and the potential loss of customers and revenue.
“78% of the SMEs have never tested their business continuity plans”. Business Continuity Institute 2017
This is exactly where Crises Control can help SMEs to prepare, communicate and protect their business.
The only thing harder than planning for an emergency, is explaining why you didn’t when “That Day” comes.