Risk e-Views Vol 11 August 2011 – Risk Leadership: Creating Risk Champions

One approach for embedding a risk management culture across your enterprise is to develop a team of risk champions within your business. What should you expect of them and how should you equip them?

The answers to these questions are not straight forward. When you are dealing with cultural change the strategies that work best will depend on a myriad of elements that have occurred or will be occurring in your organisation. Here are some practical questions to ask yourself that will help you to decide how to develop your team of risk champions:

QualityHow skilled and resourceful in risk management do you want your champions to be? Do you expect them to conduct top quality risk assessments in their sphere of influence or do you want them to be aware of when a top quality risk assessment is needed and where to find the assistance to get one done? Do you want them to be well versed in articulating risks in their risk reporting to management or do you simply want them to be aware of the requirements for risk reporting? How skilled are they now and how skilled do you want them to be in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and 2 years from now?

QuantityHow far do you want your champions to roam? Is the frontline culture of your organisation strong on managing risk associated with day-to-day tasks or is there an urgent need to change the culture of frontline staff? If the frontline is not the problem, perhaps it is middle management and their lack of application of risk-based decision making that you want to tackle. Cultural change at the frontline will require potentially many more champions than if your challenge is with middle management.

Performance Are you planning an informal relationship or is the need so great you need to include specific elements of accountability? How does this fit with the culture of your organisation? Do you have the skills and resources available to you to “win over” your champions through an informal relationship that will result in a strong performance by them?

Leadership How are you going to lead your team of champions? Will you form a key operational group that has strong input into the risk reporting process of the business or will you leave them to operate within their businesses and only bring them together periodically for communication and consultation on developments in the risk management space?