Danger Mouse was a cartoon series that originally aired from 1981 to early 1992. It featured the titular character a smart-allecky, eye-patch wearing macho spy mouse. Danger Mouse and his assistant Ernest Penfold travel the world trying to apprehend Baron Silas Greenback and his cronies. Known as the world’s greatest secret agent- so secret in fact that his codename has a codename, Danger Mouse can definitely teach us a thing or two about risk management. I mean he has Danger in his name and where there’s Danger there’s risk! Off we go Penfold! (you’re Penfold, what makes you think I’d let you be Danger Mouse?)
Before we jump into the Mark III (D.M.’s flying car), I think we should see exactly what risk management is. Risk management is the identification, assessment and prioritization of risk. So now that we’ve established that, jump in and let’s take a flying ride in the Mark III and into the world of Danger Mouse risk management.
In episode 4 in the first season of the cartoon, Danger Mouse takes on Chickens that were unnaturally large due to a growth serum that Greenback gave them. Although Greenback is an absolute risk, the giant chickens were creating much more immediate damage than Greenback was, so the Chicken risk was prioritized opposed to the apprehension of Greenback. Similarly if your corporation, company or department is being attacked by giant chickens, while trying to take on a megalomaniac and trying to hit a deadline, you’ll need to decide which of those is the most immediate threat. As the giant chickens and cartoon megalomaniac are fictional(hopefully), you might want to concentrate on hitting that deadline.
In the 7 episode of the first season, Penfold suffers a fall that makes him become a Tarzan like Jungle Lord. During this very reasonable mischief, Danger Mouse notices that elephants are turning into sugar cubes all over the jungle, and they later find out that said elephants revert back to full size when they are dropped into tea. Although Penfold’s head-injury-induced delusion is definitely a crisis, the real risk is the villain behind turning elephants into sugar cubes, which could potentially cause death and destruction in places where tea is widely drunk. Hmmm, I wonder where that would be. If you are dealing with multiple crises, make sure you know which one is actually damaging or has the ability to damage your assets. If the risks don’t pose an immediate threat to what’s valuable to you or your company don’t try to solve it until the real risk is minimized.
You’ll say like Penfold: “Oh-eck Chief what’s the difference between identification and assessment?” It’s really simple my dear side-kick: Identifying has to do with the risk and assessing what it has to do with your assets. For example, in the second episode of the second season DM and Penfold are sent to Eaves Drop Island, near the Bermuda triangle, to protect the Big Ear tracking station from Greenback, but are instead abducted by an alien. Through everything, he thinks the alien is a disguised Greenback and leaves the Big Ear exposed to attack. That was bad assessment on behalf of Danger Mouse.
Do you use other absurdly awesome cartoons as business guides? Well let me know in the comment section below.