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Worry Damage

Worry damage, this pleasant term comes from N. Luhmann and describes one aspect of dealing with an unknown future. Those who assume that they can have influence upon whether a particular event can be prevented through action in the present, must decide if they should look ahead or if they should allow things to take their course. A simple example is insurance: You safely pay a contribution in the present. This is a detriment, because the money is gone. With it, you purchase a reduction of damage (loss) by means of a payment in the event of an insurance claim.

Many organisations deal with the future: The product must be produced now and will be purchased later. In such cases you must weigh up which risks cause concern. Do you check each individual product or will you be happy with spot checks? The more concern, the more effort and costs are required to limit the risk. The more assumptions about possible dangers, which must be transformed into risks, there are, the more unattractive the goal will become (because of higher so-called opportunity costs). As organisations age and grow, they protect their decisions more and more and the worry damage also becomes greater.

Therefore, we should not be surprised that change projects often aim at streamlining, an abolition of regulations and inconveniences etc., and for an increase in entrepreneurial attitudes (=willingness to take risk). A reduction in worry damages can, however, only be had if you are prepared to accept that future damage can be viewed as avoidable or that you can insure against it. However, as this will generally be presented to the decision-makers as a mistaken decision, such projects regularly fail in their implementation. Not least for this reason owner-led organisations have advantages, because the owner only has to deal with self-criticism