Keep a lookout for the Gray Rhino

Michele Wucker writes about Gray Rhinos, which are a distinct danger that offers us a choice: deny it or deal with it. Humans take these problems for granted all too often and get trampled because of it. The Gray Rhino is a close cousin to the Elephant in the Room, the Black Swan Event and the Ostrich with its head in the Sand. Gray Rhinos are not random surprises but occur after a series of warnings and visible evidence.

Gray Rhinos happen in personal lives, at work, in communities and around the world. Why gray? Well, there are white rhinos, which are not white, and there are black rhinos, which are not black. Despite their names, they are all gray. It’s the most obvious thing about them, but we miss that glaring detail.

The current bushfires can be considered to be a Gray Rhino. The thing that surprises me is that there are still people out there who strongly believe that losing everything due to fire will never happen to them but the current fire season has proven that it can, and it does.


This week, I want you to have a think about what your top 3 Gray Rhinos are. It could be that you don’t have an emergency fund set aside that could support you for at least 12 months, or you haven’t had that strange noise coming from your car engine looked at and you need the vehicle to carry out your business or it could be that you don’t have a bushfire safety plan and relevant insurances in place and you are under threat from fire.

Are you denying them or dealing with them? How good is your detection system? What opportunities do they create for you? What actions have you already taken to deal with them?

Check out Michele’s TED talk “Why we ignore obvious problems — and how to act on them”

I would love to hear about your Gray Rhino’s, leave me some feeback here.

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