Understanding the Concept of Gray Rhinos and Our Negligence to Respond to Highly Likely and Impactful Events

In this week's episode, Ricardo discusses the Gray Rhino concept described in Michele Wucker's book. Ricardo comments that this idea is the opposite of the Black Swan concept.

Events and risks, according to the Black Swan concept, have a very low probability of happening but can have catastrophic consequences if they do occur. The Gray Rhino concept refers to risks with a high chance of occurring and a massive impact if they happen, but we fail to recognize them as threats because we overlook their obviousness. It's not that we didn't see trouble coming; we just despise it.

The analogy to the gray rhinoceros is that the rhinoceros is like a destructive steamroller, which runs at high speed through the savannah and leaves a path of destruction in its wake.

Ricardo gives several examples of situations where the consequences were obvious, but we could not take concrete actions to mitigate them, such as the 2008 financial crisis, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and the problems with climate change.

Using this idea in projects, we tend to focus on Black Swans during risk assessment and neglect Gray Rhinos.

We often face threats in our projects that are so obvious and impactful that we do not give the necessary importance.

Listen to this week's #5minpodcast to learn more.