A tough, tattooed rigger with a potty mouth once told me that he experienced his epiphany when he dropped a length of truss on his foot. “It hurt like hell,” he said, or words to that effect, “but it got me thinking. This rock n’ roll business is a mug’s game. I’m going to move to corporate!” For those that aren’t in the know, “corporate” is an AV industry term for any show or event that isn’t rock n’ roll. This was a big decision for him – he knew what he was giving up – from now on he’d have to shave before work, remove his nose ring, cover his tattoos with a nicely pressed long sleeve black shirt, not to mention clean up his language. Like everyone who’s worked in rock n roll will tell you “when you cross the River Styx to the world of corporate, there’s no going back.”
But corporate is not without risk – you can still drop a length of truss on your foot if you’re clumsy enough. The difference is that when you do drop it, it doesn’t hurt. The cursing and swearing of your days in rock n’ roll have been replaced with a chuckle as the truss rings like a tuning fork. Why? Because it struck your shiny black steel-toe boot. That’s risk management in a nutshell – think about what might go wrong and come up with a solution to manage it. Like a famous New York banker once said, “risk is just a part of life, so make it your friend, or you’ll have a nervous breakdown.” Despite the fact that he’s now serving a jail sentence for getting a little bit too cosy with risk, he was kind of right. Kind of.
However, if the possibility of dropping truss on your foot was the only risk in our industry, I wouldn’t have a job. Ninety five percent of Staging Connections’ business is done in the public arena, which brings with it enormous risk and equally enormous levels of responsibility. We do flip chart and projector meetings in Sydney or Perth, right through to major global conferences in Kuala Lumpur or Paris, and everything in between. Our shows must not only be stylish, technically brilliant and commercially savvy, but they also have to be safe. Clients and members of the public who come to our events shouldn’t have to worry about whether that length of truss suspended above their heads is going to stay there.
Embedding risk management into your brand takes commitment. This year Staging Connections began implementing its Stagesafe system along with its logo and mantra, “Stagesafe, every show, every event.” Whenever Managing Director Tony Chamberlain speaks to us, he begins with a message on the importance of safety, not just because he wants to, but because he understands that without safety, your brand is nothing.
Author: Luke Sullivan