“Sorry your meeting is cancelled”

Worried risk manager holding his glasses. Cancelled meting. Risk management

“Sorry your meeting is cancelled”

Every risk manager who has exposure to top management will be familiar with this message:

``Sorry, the CXO has asked to cancel your meeting or postpone to another date, as something more important has cropped up that requires their attention``

Usually accompanied by a knowing “Really sorry” from their PA and a promise to find another date in a month or so. They’ll get back to you…

That little scenario betrays a truth about Enterprise Risk Management in the corporate world. Sure it’s important. You get to talk about it from time to time at the top table. But it’s rarely a priority. It’s only ever urgent if something has badly gone wrong. It can be put to the side, ignored for a while, looked past, overruled. The unspoken message is that ERM is secondary to “getting the job done”.

And that is an important condition to recognise. It demonstrates that risk management is still perceived in the immature way of being a “bolt-on”, a “nice-to-have”, a “regulatory requirement” perhaps, but it doesn’t live up to the ideal of being “a core part of HOW we get the job done”.

When the extent of the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on corporate revenues was first perceived, – around March 2020 – discretionary risk management budgets evaporated almost overnight. Companies took immediate action to protect liquidity as unprecedented levels of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) gripped entire economies and sectors.

CROs have a window of opportunity to build on their new visibility.

Chief Risk Officers gained huge exposure by managing some of the new problems that Covid-19 created, helping fill the void in corporate org charts. Much of that uncertainty and volatility has now been operationalised – well done – good job!

CROs have a window of opportunity to build on their new visibility. The problem of how well the organisation’s risk culture is understood, supported, embedded and developed as a core operational instinct, is likely to be an open question. Indeed, shaping and reinforcing a positive culture is not something that ever really stops (the events in Washington D.C. on Jan 6th are a good example of how a strong culture can quickly lose itself if not reinforced).

Here at Senscia, we’ve spent the last 7 years tackling the issue of how to drive risk management expertise into the working knowledge, skills and mindsets of staff in a wide range of business sectors and geographies. As 2021 sees risk management budgets re-built, is it time that developing risk culture throughout your distanced workforce, was given a fresh priority? We’d be delighted to help you in your efforts and reduce the likelihood of being told that your risk meeting has been cancelled.

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