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Resolve's Gestalt University

Mar 30, 2021

In this episode, we are joined by Michele Wucker, author of the international bestseller “The Gray Rhino” and the new book “You Are What You Risk”. She coined the term “gray rhino” for obvious, probable, impactful risks, which we are surprisingly likely but not condemned to neglect. The gray rhino has moved markets, influenced central banks, guided risk managers and business strategy, and made headlines as an important frame for the ignored warnings that let the Covid-19 pandemic get out of control. The metaphor was inspired by work early in her career when she sounded a warning about Argentina’s debt crisis, then reprised that warning with an early and successful argument for a pre-emptive haircut in the Greek debt crisis. She is founder of the Chicago-based strategy firm Gray Rhino & Company, speaks frequently to high-level global audiences, and is cited often in leading global media which recently have included The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and the Washington Post.


We discussed:

  • Five reasons decision-makers have for not addressing problems
  • Making the “devil’s advocate” more prominent in the decision-making process
  • Individual biases and how they define your “risk fingerprint”
  • The “risk compass” and how it can help manage client risk tolerance
  • The “Glass Cliff Phenomenon” and corporate crises
  • The balance of left tail and right tail risk in group/family dynamics
  • Thinking less deterministically and more probabilistically to get better outcomes
  • Little “hacks” to help manage risk


Michele also shared real-life anecdotes of how using these methods have helped corporations/boards and families manage risk tolerance differences. She stresses repeatedly the usefulness of knowing the “risk fingerprint” of every member of the group, leading to significantly better outcomes.


We hope you enjoy this far-reaching and entertaining discussion.