Risk Leadership: We might be hindering something great

I was reading a great post by Paul Broadfoot about early warning systems in large organisations. At first it got me thinking about what great people we are in the risk profession as we help design early warning systems which many of us call Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) while others might simply refer to them as lead indicators.

As I read on, Paul started to explain the role of “intrapreneurs”. In his view, these are the people that are always “chirping away” at the need for change. He says there are many common terms used to describe them, including “mavericks, rebels, change agents, ideas woman/man, a pain in the arse, a gun”.

The more I read the more it got me wondering whether much of what a risk professional puts in place in an organisation hampers or stifles people like these to the detriment of the long-term benefit of the organisation. How much are we fighting them and fighting their non-compliance?

True risk leadership is not about stifling (see diagram below). It is about leading the organisation to take risk, “eyes wide open”, ready to accept the consequences, to parry, to pivot and to move on again. While often it is difficult due to past sins of the risk profession, you must help staff move past seeing risk as a compliance activity or something to provide comfort to the Board. You must ensure your risk processes and systems provide insight and ultimately leadership on the risks to take. Embrace your intrapreneurs, assess the balance of risk vs the opportunity they see and be their champion when together you see the essential path forward.

Risk Model