Who ever thought risk was optional?

I can’t help but observe the recurring theme of RM having to justify itself in the face of other (financial or operational) considerations. It’s like there is almost an acceptance of the need to “sell RM” within an organisation!!! This won’t be news to experienced Practitioners – some of whose professional persistence has proven pretty costly – but is this not a damning indictment of the prevailing Corporate culture?

Since the phrase “Black Swans” was first coined in the context of the Financial Sector, even when they don’t understand what it means(!), it has served as a ready, C-level, excuse for failure but, it is rarely the case…

Black Swans: A Corporate Governance “blind spot”

Where are the “risk leaders”? Instead of FS compounding the problems we should be utilising our expertise and resources to establish a means of “repaying” society, by promoting, supporting and investing in building community resilience.

EVERY project, process, task, operation being undertaken by an organisation is reliant upon varying degrees of INTER-CONNECTED function. Each contains some degree of risk.

The more complex the process or product the greater the exposure. Risk does not “run parallel” to the function, it is inherent to it and, as such, RM cannot be viewed as an option or add-on! To me this (scarily common) approach serves to reinforce the need for a paradigm shift in Corporate culture. Read more of this post

Good Decisions. Bad Outcomes

The article below is of particular interest to me and my colleagues at Ontonix because it reinforces the approach that we advocate and that is supported by our unique technology.

Business is no longer about linear relationships or processes with the post-industrial resilience suggested by terms like “supply chain”. As was highlighted in this recent blog (video) Eric Berlow: How complexity leads to simplicity, when dealing with the modern [non-linear] business, apparently, “good” decisions can often have the opposite of the desired effect without a holistic view of the system…more lessons from nature.

You may not, immediately, get the connection but this is a small extract from a report by US National Academies/National Research Council and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York collaborated on an initiative to “stimulate fresh thinking on systemic risk”.

Catastrophic changes in the overall state of a system can ultimately derive from how it is organized — from feedback mechanisms within it, and from linkages that are latent and often unrecognized.

…back to business Read more of this post

Gifted leaders ask What if questions in 10 (brain compatible) ways that:

  1. Show genuine openness to hear, learn and grow from another’s wisdom.
  2. Offer respect and concern to the person asked.
  3. Draw out talent from people, by showcasing what they do well.
  4. Offer another person the chance to shine by the expected answer
  5. Indicate a curiosity that carves out a pathway for the answer to build forward
  6. Come clothed in humility that only those who ask and listen can possess
  7. Hold no bias and instead show openness to learn and grow together.
  8. Inspire others to wait around to hear the exciting responses triggered.
  9. Communicate with tone that creates space for a genuine answer
  10. Build goodwill among those who may disagree by answers offered.

What if questions may ratchet up leadership skills, but they tend to be harder to ask than most people recognise. Would you agree?

From: Brain Leaders and Learners

Phew! He’s not mad and that makes me feel MUCH better

Image representing Seth Godin as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase


If only Seth Godin felt about me how I feel about him. If you have read my blog before you may already know that I have declared my love…for him – more accurately his work.

His books (not that I have read them all!) and blog are, consistently, thought-provoking and frequently inspiring. I never thought I would say that about a “Marketer” but then I didn’t ever think I would publish my own thoughts on-line OR declare my love for (1) a man (2) a man I have never even met (3) a man that I have not met and who looks like Seth Godin…strange times!!!

If you only ever sign up for updates for one blog make it his. The full article can be found here: What does ‘pro-business’ mean? However, as someone whose daily business focus is upon identifying, mapping and managing the risks surrounding “dynamic (non-linear) systems” – more accurately helping business leaders to understand that this is an alternative description of THEIR company and its ecosystem – I am frequently left wondering if the nature of business actually moved beyond the post industrial model or if complexity and global inter-connectedness were just figments of my imagination.

Seth says I’m sane! YES, things have changed in our World but unless they change further – with good old fashioned values at the core – and an awareness of the risks and responsibilities that accompany the opportunities open to right-minded individuals.

Seth calls them “Linchpins” and I like that but I prefer the moniker “Risk Leader”…admittedly not as snappy but, with an insight into the nature of complexity, risk and uncertainty I believe that, for vision to flourish, a good view of the “risk horizon” is essential.

…we could see pro-business strategies looking more like this:

  • Investing in training the workforce to solve interesting problems, so they can work at just about any job.
  • Maintaining infrastructure, safety and civil rights so we can create a community where talented people and the entrepreneurs who hire them (two groups that can live wherever they choose) would choose to live there.
  • Reward and celebrate the scientific process that leads to scalable breakthroughs, productivity and a stable path to the future.
  • Spend community (our) money on services and infrastructure that help successful organizations and families thrive.

Once you’ve seen how difficult it is to start a thriving business in a place without clean water, fast internet connections and a stable government of rational laws, it’s a lot harder to take what we’ve built for granted.
Capital is selfish and it often seeks the highest possible short-term results. But capital isn’t driving our economy any longer, innovation by unique people is. And people aren’t so predictable.
Linchpins are scarce. They can live where they choose, hire whom they want and build organizations filled with other linchpins. The race to the top will belong to communities that figure out how to avoid being the dumping ground for the organizational, social and physical pollution that factories create.

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Quantitative SWOT analysis

Most people in business will have had, at least, a “brush” with an analysis of: STRENGTHS; WEAKNESSES; OPPORTUNITIES; THREATS (SWOT).

Done properly, it can be a very useful tool. It can bring focus to key issues for the business to consider, can contribute much to strategic planning, change management and, even, negotiations…EVEN THOUGH IT IS SUBJECTIVE AND FAILS TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE CURRENT ‘HEALTH’ OF THE BUSINESS SYSTEM!

Imagine how POWERFUL it would be if it was: OBJECTIVE; QUANTITATIVE; MEASURABLE; VERIFIABLE and so much more…. Read more of this post