Pointing Fingers

I was recently presenting a risk profile to a division executive team of a large government agency. One executive said “Wait, that’s not our risk!”.

The described risk involved a major project being significantly delayed, posing a threat to the agency’s reputation due to the potential for high-profile incidents.  The reason the project was delayed was because of decisions made by the agency’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT). The division executive’s view was that there was no problem with project delivery based on the revised schedule therefore no risk to report.

I asked, who is going to “get yelled at” when the proverbial hits the fan (pointing fingers). The answer from the executive, whose team raised the risk, was “Us!”.

Irrespective of the cause of this corporate risk, the division executive agreed it was beholding of them to “tell it how it is”. I could not of agreed more.

I went on to explain to the room that the approach we had taken was to align all the division risks to the corporate objectives so the impact could be described in terms the ELT would understand. I went on to say the primary role of the risk profile is to ensure sufficient resources for the division to effectively manage risk, or for the ELT to reluctantly accept the risk (in cases where it’s a challenging decision), ensuring preparedness for any worst-case scenarios.

Finger pointing is soooooo unbecoming. Best to avoid others looking less than their best selves. We are always looking out for others, aren’t we ????