猴子也会做“风险管理” / Risk Management: Even Monkeys Do It

猴子也会做“风险管理”

上两篇博客我提到最近去了马来西亚郊区度假,我的目的不是观光购物,而是放松身心。

随着年龄的增长,我们身上的工作和生活压力日益加大,以至于必须刻意学习才能明白如何放松。小的时候,这可都是浑然天成的。

等我们去放松的时候,又经常会变成自己最可恶的敌人。比如你去打高尔夫,结果成绩很烂,你可以选择为此伤神不已,也可以一笑了之乐在其中。钓鱼、航海、还有其他很多休闲运动都是如此。

有些人喜欢竞技休闲项目,有些人不喜欢一争高下,我就属于后者。

换言之,虽然听上去似乎有些傻,但到了我这个年纪,必须有意识地提醒自己怎么放松,怎么在高速运转的工作生活中放慢节奏。人生到了这个阶段,休闲放松不仅仅是一种褒奖,也是健康生活的重要组成部分。

比较理想的度假休闲游应该是去一个新的地方,换一个新的生活节奏。如今,我们生活在一个移动网络24小时连通的时代,所以休假时会面临如何处理移动通讯设备的问题,到底是该一直开机还是关掉呢?

一方面,工作上不断的来电完全违背了休憩的初衷。但另一方面,我们希望能够尽职尽责,保持通讯畅通,以便及时应对突发状况。

对我来说,如果完全拒收邮件则意味着旅行结束后要处理山一样高的来信。总惦记着这座大山对我的放松过程完全没有好处。于是我采取了折中的办法,每天只查收一次邮件,而且只处理紧急事务,其他内容只是一扫而过。我打算回去以后再花时间处理那些比较常规的邮件。

换个环境的诱人之处在于,可以让我们跳出框框,来到一个物理、文化上都不同寻常的环境下进行别样思考。

正如我上周所写,有天清晨我到海滨度假屋附近散步,看见一大群猴子(猕猴),大约有三、四十只。准确地说,是它们看见了我。虽然离我散步的小路大概只有一百米远,但这些猴子在树丛中隐蔽得非常好。

最先让我发觉它们存在的是“放哨”猴的尖叫声,它的职责就是在闯入者靠近时警示同伴。如果这只猴子有名片的话,它的职务应该是“风险管理主管”,后面的供职单位就是猴群的名称。

让人哭笑不得的是,随着这声尖叫,树丛拼命地晃动,几十只猴子窜进密林深处不见了。这么多猴子活动起来杂沓之声不绝于耳,假如我是个猎手,会庆幸这位“风险管理主管”指出了这么多唾手可得的活靶子。

由此可见:光发现风险和提示风险是不够的,关键还是要看应对措施产生的成效。

在动物王国中,猴群并不是唯一会设定风险管理岗位的族群,凤头鹦鹉就是一例。

Risk Management: Even Monkeys Do It

In my last two posts I wrote about a recent holiday trip I took to rural Malaysia. The purpose of the trip was not shopping or sightseeing, but relaxing.

As we get older, the pressures of life and work are such that relaxing is something we have to learn how to do. When we’re young, it tends to come more naturally.

When we set out to relax, we can often be our own worst enemy. If you’re a golfer and you’re having a bad round, you have the choice of getting all wound up about it, or taking it in stride while still enjoying the day. The same goes for fishing, sailing and many other leisure pursuits.

Some people enjoy competitive leisure pursuits; others prefer non-competitive ones. I’m one of the latter group.

In other words, as silly as it seems, as we age, we have to consciously remind ourselves how to relax, and unwind from the high-pitched pace of life and work. At this stage in life, relaxation is not just a bonus, it’s an important component of living a healthy life.

Ideally, holiday trips for relaxation purposes involve a change of place, as well as a change of pace. One question we face in this current age of 24/7 mobile connectedness concerns what to do with our mobile devices. Do we stay fully connected while on holiday, or not?

On the one hand, constant reminders of work-related stuff are counter-productive to the goal of relaxing. On the other hand, we want to be responsible and accessible in case of emergency.

For me, to completely disconnect from emails for several days means a tall mountain of them will await me at the end of the trip. The thought of this mountain is not helpful to the process of relaxing. My compromise solution is to check emails only once a day and solely with an eye towards anything urgent, with the rest of the stuff getting a quick scan only. I allocate time after the trip for dealing with the more routine emails.

One of the appealing things about a change of place is that it provides a platform for us to think out of the box, in a different physical and cultural environment than our everyday one.

As I wrote last week, while on an early morning walk near my seaside guest house, I saw a troupe of 30 or 40 monkeys (macaques). Or to be more precise, they saw me. They were well hidden in the trees, although only 100 meters or so away from the road I was walking along.

What first alerted me to their presence was the shrill warning call of their lookout monkey, whose job is to warn the troupe when intruders draw near. If this particular monkey carried a business card, his title would be something like “Head of Risk Management” followed by the name of his monkey troupe.

Ironically, after his warning call, the trees began to shake as dozens of monkeys moved deeper into the forest. The noise of so many monkeys on the move was considerable. Had I been a hunter, I would have been happy that the Head of Risk Management had alerted me to the presence of so many targets close at hand.

Moral: it’s not just identifying risk and warning others; it’s the resulting course of action which matters most.

Monkeys are not alone in the animal kingdom with respect to having designated members of the community responsible for risk management. Another example occurs among cockatoos.

“他去当凤头鹦鹉了吗?” / Has he gone ‘cockatoo’? 

几年前我去澳大利亚昆士兰时得知,当地重要的农作物甘蔗每年都会因凤头鹦鹉啄食冠部而损失惨重。一位澳大利亚人给我形容了一下这种损失,我问他农民会不会为了保护作物而猎杀鹦鹉。

他听到我的问题,表情十分惊讶,反问道:“你知道‘当凤头鹦鹉’这句话吗?”

我当然不知道。他解释说,澳洲俚语“当凤头鹦鹉”是指担任警卫或哨兵。如果一群凤头鹦鹉飞到甘蔗田上,其中一只就会负责站岗放哨,一旦有危险来临,比如扛着枪的农民走来,它就会向同伴发出警告。我的澳洲朋友十分肯定地告诉我,这让他们几乎打不中一只鹦鹉。

“这些该死的鸟,真是太聪明了。”

这再次显示出,有效的风险管理似乎是从动物王国兴起的。而像这种琐碎但有趣的顿悟,一般都是在休假时才会灵光乍现。

 

I learned a few years ago when visiting Queensland, Australia, where sugar cane is a very important crop, that cockatoos annually cause huge losses to farmers by chewing the tops off the stalks of the cane. As one local Aussie was describing the extent of these losses to me, I asked whether or not farmers hunted them in order to protect their crops?

His expression showed great surprise at my question, and he answered with a question: “Do you know the expression ‘to go cockatoo’?”

Obviously I did not. He explained that this slang expression in Australian English means to play the role of a lookout or sentry. When a flock of cockatoos descend on a plot of sugar cane, one of them plays the role of lookout, warning the others of any approaching danger such as a farmer with a gun. My Aussie friend assured me this made them almost impossible to shoot.

“Bloody smart birds, mate.”

Once again, effective risk management seems to begin in the animal kingdom. Such are the trivial but interesting insights we sometimes collect while relaxing on holiday.


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猴子也会做“风险管理” / Risk Management: Even Monkeys Do It》上有 54 条评论

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