What is needed for Risk Leadership 2020s style?

Last week my blog was about what your risk function should look to deliver in the 2020s. In it I suggested risk functions should deliver:

“The kind of leadership that will ensure a culture where everyone leans in and takes accountability for managing the uncertainty surrounding their decision making”.

Realistically, how are we going to do that? By changing the risk profession so it becomes markedly more valuable and hence influential at board and executive level. So we become desirable. So we are sought after, not avoided. 

It is what the profession has wanted for decades. It won’t happen if the profession does not change. As Barrack Obama said about the US Policy on Cuba, “We can do what we have been doing for decades and achieve the same result. Or we can try a new approach.”  

And the time is now. Opportunities abound. Every time a major catastrophe occurs in an organisation, risk management gets some airplay. Following the Financial Sector Royal Commission here in Australia, the Boards and Executives of APRA regulated entities are sitting up and taking notice. Most, if not all the major banks have risk transformation or risk optimisation projects in play. 

The same with non-finance sector organisations who have faced catastrophe. Take BHP Billiton. After the 2015 Mariana dam collapse a risk transformation project was born.

There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that risk management as a discipline has an excellent opportunity right now to make its mark. However, we must be focused on providing value, not just assurance. We need to impress business leaders, so they take our advice and subsequently improve their decision making.