I very much enjoyed General Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams. I’ll definitely draw on his observations as I get fully stuck into writing my next book Team Think – How teams make great decisions.

Here is a great summary article in Chief Executive about Gen. McChrystal’s Risk Immune System analogy he espouses in his latest book Risk: A User’s Guide. The analogy of HIV/AIDS not being the cause of death of HIV/AIDS sufferers. They die from other causes once their defences are compromised. He explains that organisations don’t fail from a risk event, they fail by not reacting appropriately to the event.

McChrystal goes onto explain ten “risk control factors” from communication and structure to leadership and diversity. However, perhaps most important is Adaptability. It is the essence of Change Management which is a constant challenge for risk professionals as you grow the maturity of your organisation in managing risk.

In early 2020 I wrote extensively on Adaptive Leadership, a term coined by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow and Marty Linsky in their Harvard Business Review article published in the midst of the GFC in 2009 titled Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis. I published my take on this style of leadership in which I espoused leaders to pursue:

  1. Being Courageous
  2. Proactive Experimentation
  3. Devolved Decision Making

Almost the exact same applies for you as a risk professional creating change in your organisation to grow maturity. Yes you need to be courageous. Sometimes you need to fight for a seat at the table. Yes you need to experiment to find out what works, what creates behavioural change. But my spin on the last one is that you need to pursue “Involved Decision Making”. That is, decisions by leaders that involve you or at least involve an appropriate level of discussion about risk.

Stay safe and make change.