All management is risk management

All management is risk management

All management is risk management
All management is risk management

According to ISO 31000, "risk is the effect of uncertainty on objectives". The first time I set eyes on this definition it was difficult for me to fully grasp the reach of this definition. At that time I was already convinced risk had both a positive as well as a negative component. Risk, as I saw it at that time (2009), held the prospect of both gain and loss, depending the situation, the perspective on that situation and / or the effort spent to manage risk.
However, when you think it through, it is clear the ISO 31000 definition is exactly what I thought risk was. The effect of uncertainty can be negative, positive or both at the same time, understood gain is positive and loss is negative. Unfortunately, many risk management practitioners don’t see it this way. They are accustomed to a very restricted perspective on risk and follow doctrines that deal with negative effects only and they want to keep it that way, solely occupied with threats, vulnerabilities, weaknesses and the likes.

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This limited view on risk is to be understood because of the fact that the positive side of risk, aiming for profit and gain, traditionally is the privilege of managers. They are the ones that use their strengths and capabilities to pursue goals when opportunities are turned into objectives.

Nevertheless, when one group of people only focuses on taking risks (managers going for a profit) and other people are busy with the risks run (trying to keep the losses in check), it is very difficult to reach optimum decisions. Because, at first sight, the decisions to be taken to increase profit, can be the opposite of the decisions necessary to reduce the likelihood of bad things happening.
Therefore, risk managers are often viewed as people slowing down managers in their efforts to make a profit. Or worse, when there’s a lack of coordination between the two groups, wrong decisions can result in huge damage to the organisation.

There are many examples to be found that illustrate this lack of understanding between managers and risk managers. You could say that a lack of risk management and insufficient understanding of risks involved in taking decisions, is what has happened to the VW group. Too much focus on growth and profit caused managers to develop fraudulent solutions to cope with legal compliance, while misunderstanding / disregarding the objectives of important stakeholders. 
This resulted in huge losses in (shareholder) value as huge fines have been followed by more expenses in coping with the damage caused, when the full effect of uncertainty on the involved objectives had materialised.
These kind of unfortunate happenings can be avoided. ISO 31000 is a guidance standard on how organisations can overcome this dual approach and bad results. Because, its purpose is to integrate risk management in all processes and at all levels of an organisation. 
It allows for optimum decisions, aiming for profit, while reducing the likelihood of losses, because the same principles, framework and process can be used to manage both sides of risk in concert.Because taking risks when chasing opportunities and running risks due to all kinds of hazards can be managed at the same time and by the same risk owners. This is what allows you to perform safely. 

Risk management tools can be used for both sides of risk. They are useful to manage innovation and growth, building on strengths, pursuing opportunities and developing new ideas, but they are also beneficial in dealing with the threats, hazards and weaknesses, which could harm the intended progress. Risk management helps to develop a clear vision on objectives and aids in taking well informed, and therefore also better, decisions.
Should you want to know more about the ISO 31000 standard and get certified, check out the following links and pursue these opportunities!

English courses with certification:

Nederlandstalige cursus voor KMO managers:
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The Author: Peter BLOKLAND
                                             Peter BLOKLAND
Every organisation or business, every system, has its shortcomings, producing results that are less than optimal. Sometimes these flaws are due to small inconsistencies and inadequacies in corporate strategy, culture, structure, (human) resources or operations.   
Very often it only takes relatively small efforts to produce huge positive effects when you are able to look at the whole picture, the system, and obtain the needed insight to pull the right levers and make vital changes.  
With the same approach aircraft accidents are investigated to prevent future mishaps, organisations and companies can be scanned to find the ill managed risks, address these issues and improve overall performance. It’s the difference that brings you from good to great!  Long term success and optimum performance can be achieved by aligning your organisation with corporate social responsibility. 
It allows your company to become a contribution to society. Aligning the human factor with corporate strategy, culture and operations, using a systemic approach and systems thinking, allows us to do this and create instant and sustainable success!
 Areas of interest and specialties:   
  • Total Respect Management (TR³M). This is a comprehensive management method leading towards CSR and organisational alignment. 
  • Organisational alignment & Change management (Vision - Mission - Ambition - Strategy & Culture)  
  • ISO 31000 Risk Management (Integrating risk management in your organisation)  Leadership & Team Performance (Team alignment)  Systems Thinking & Sustainability  Speaking  -  Training  -  Coaching

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