Risk ‘Blindness’ – Part 2 – Solving the Problem

Risk ‘Blindness’ – Part 2 – Solving the Problem

It’s hard to deal with risks that you haven’t seen coming. As such, you need multiple radars that are constantly scanning the environment for emerging issues that may impact your organisation. However, too many organisations say that – with the benefit of hindsight – although they did identify the particular issue as an emerging risk, they didn’t then capture and translate it into their own risk context and framework. Three items to concentrate on to make sure that you are ‘fully sighted’.

Firstly, ensure you have established some form of protocol for how to identify emerging issues, and how to deal with them. This should not be a bureaucratic exercise, but if you don’t know whose job it is to watch the radars, and what they are watching out for then clearly nobody else in the organisation will. Clearly specify how often, and how much time, individuals are supposed to be spending on their horizon scanning activities? Do all employees have readily available channels to identify a relevant issue?

Secondly, is there a clear response flow in place which ensures relevant items are considered and then make their way onto the organisational risk register? (if appropriate). Remember that your response to emerging risk will only be as good as your organisational response to managing all strategic, operational and project risk.

Thirdly, make sure you learn lessons from every eventuating risk that you miss. Where in the organisation did the risk materialise, and when? Where did it spread, and how? How did the organisational response protocol work? If this did not work effectively, why did it not translate into the risk framework?

In future email bulletins, we will explore how different Riskwest clients identify and manage emerging risk issues. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Riskwest to discuss the issue further.