Risky Business

Roll the dice.  Go for broke.  Bite the bullet.  Take a leap of faith. Just do it.  But be careful.  Don’t overdo it.  It’ll never work.  Pace yourself.  Think twice.  It’s not a good time.  

We live in a world where risk of failure is an ever-present constant that millions of companies and executives face daily.  But exactly do we mean when we talk about risk?  We’re not referring  to physical risk in the workplace (i.e., hazards, health and safety), but from  the intangibles like uncertainty in financial markets, threats from project failures (at any phase in design, development, production or sustainment life-cycles), legal liabilities, credit risk, disasters as well as cyber-attacks.  

Hundreds of books have been written on the subject and thousands of consultants have built thriving practices on reducing business risk.  (In fact, several risk management standards have been developed including the Project Management Institute, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, actuarial societies and ISO standards.)  While the complete elimination of risk is highly unlikely, there are risk management strategies where companies can attempt to identify, assess and plan for risk.

‘Risk mitigation’ is somewhat of a better place to be – reducing the exposure to and deflecting as many threats as possible. While this can be achieved through policy and procedure, training and education and technology implementations, team engagement is critical.  We believe wholeheartedly that leveraging your best resources – your employees, partners and customers – when properly engaged, can uncover critical success factors before they become issues.  But it’s not just about brainstorming ideas, but about deep collaboration and stakeholder engagement.  

With digital stakeholder engagement, you’re gathering your company’s brain-trust in an open – but controlled forum – and issues/challenges are broadcast in the form of an open call for solutions.  Make it about learning from the people doing the work.  Guide the conversation and let your participants do the rest.  

Too often input from employees can get inadvertently filtered through layers of management before it gets to those at the top. But getting anonymous feedback – that layer of privacy –  allows senior executives to get everyone’s perspective – even the vocal minority – on a subject without the associated politics and typical filters which can limit access to information at all levels.  Selected initiatives progress with specific discussions to deliver timely and innovative impact to relevant corporate objectives surrounding risk mitigation.

Photo Cred: Dane Rude