Guest Post by Patrick Ow (first posted on CERM ® RISK INSIGHTS – reposted here with permission)
What is a risk professional?
Risk management is an objective-focused concept. Risk professionals must, therefore, be a catalyst, an advocate, and trusted friend for driving superior organisational performance.
They must walk alongside executives, managers and staff to achieve organisational objectives by making better decisions under uncertainty, risk, and opportunities.
Strategy execution and organisational performance will be the critical success factors for risk professionals. They must create value for the organisation and be invited to take the ‘seat at the table’ at board and management meetings. They must work in collaboration and partnership with board members, executives, and managers to achieve the required outcomes through ruthless strategy execution and performance.
Risk professionals must provide value-added input in the corporate planning discussion rather than merely act as process keepers and custodians of the risk management process and framework.
They should have a high-level understanding of the strategies required throughout the organisational lifecycle, knowing whether the chosen strategy can be implemented given its resourcing and workforce capability and capacity, and knowing the likelihood and extent of organisational success given the opportunities, risks, and uncertainties.
What is the future of risk management?
Risk management must move beyond compliance. It must move away from the tick-the-box practice and avoid merely satisfying the regulator and legislator.
Risk management effectiveness decreases when the formality and structure of risk management increases.
A controlling environment with formal and compliance mechanisms will only result in risk management for compliance and downsides. Management will become risk-averse rather than being successful through opportunity-seeking and risk-taking. They practice defensive risk management instead.
Reporting and managing a list of risks (also known as “list management”) have been the pre-occupation of risk professionals. These actions do nothing to drive conversations, introspections, and achievement of organisational vision and mission. They are a distraction. It focuses people on the wrong things. Heat maps and wordy risk registers do not tell any worthy performance story that drives behaviour change.
Discuss performance information together with risk information at board and management meetings. Risk and performance must be intricately linked. If performance targets are unmet, know why and implement steps to overcome the poor performance.
Enhance the quality of the decision-making process and discussion with the integration of effective risk management.
Strategy execution is the future of risk management. Risk professionals are jointly responsible for the successful execution of organisational strategy.
Risk management, at its core, is good management. Its separation is unhelpful.
What are the skills today’s risk managers need?
When the role of risk professionals is to increase the likelihood of organisational success, they must know how the strategy is developed, the thinking behind strategy formulation, and knowing what it takes to deliver on that strategy.
It requires proactive engagement, conversations, and partnerships where they walk alongside management as a trusted friend, someone who will drive change and performance.
The skills and competence to facilitate these activities will be vital for risk professionals. They must also have a sound understanding of how the organisation works along its lifecycle.
Patrick Ow is a Risk Specialist and Chartered Accountant with over 25 years of international risk management and corporate governance experience in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors, and across different industries. He helps individuals and organisations make better decisions to achieve better results and outcomes as a corporate and personal trainer and coach at Practicalrisktraining.com.
He is also the founder of CreateMyJob.org, a social enterprise platform for job creation and community support.
Patrick has authored several eBooks including Strategic Risk Management Reimagined: How to Improve Performance and Strategy Execution, How to Improve the Performance of Collaborations, Joint Ventures, and Strategic Alliances: The Shared Risk Management Handbook and Things Parents Wish They Knew Earlier: The Family Risk Management Handbook.