RISKY BUSINESS: How Successful Organisations Embrace Uncertainty


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Leading risk expert Bryan Whitefield shares a passion for risk leadership built on 30 years of creative collaboration with hundreds of industries and organisations, large and small, across all economic sectors.

A man with a mission, Bryan has fought his way into executive meetings and boardrooms, changing minds and helping organisations draw value from their investment in risk management. He knows what works and what doesn’t.

In this book you will find the secret to designing an effective risk framework and the most successful ways to introduce and embed it. Is is also an exposé of some atrocious, yet all too common, risk management practices that must be repudiated if risk management is to deliver on its promise.

Bryan draws from a deep well of technical knowledge and experience, and adds some great storytelling, to offer practical ideas and solutions to support risk professionals, whether new to the game or more seasoned players. Risky Business is his gift to professionals who want to increase their impact on those they serve.

Book Reviews

Challenging. Refreshing. Readable. Risky Business made me think and question, and it provided valuable advice from a long time practising professional.

As a generalisation, private sector managers (entrepreneurs) think they know all about ‘risks’ and risk management while those in the public sector too frequently think risk is all about ‘political risk’, in short, keeping the Minister happy. As a result they may not be as receptive to advice from risk professionals and even hold a degree of cynicism. As Bryan so clearly demonstrates in Risky Business, it is up to risk professionals to lift their game and this book will guide you well.

Pat Barrett, Distinguished Honorary Professor & Senior Fellow – ANCAAR Research School of Accounting, ANU Auditor-General of Australia 1995-2005

Even as a seasoned Chief Risk Officer I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bryan Whitefield’s latest book ‘Risky Business – How Successful Organisations Embrace Uncertainty’. In the world today we are dealing with an unprecedented level of complex societal, business and economic systems and it is important to understand key points of connectivity as to the explicit and implicit flow through impacts on our Risk environment and what the velocity and scale of those impacts might be.

Getting a clear understanding as to the dynamic interconnectivity of your inherent Risks in this uncertain environment is just as critical as understanding the actual inherent Risks themselves. Bryan’s book will help all levels of risk practitioner and even folk who don’t come from a Governance, Risk and Compliance Background start to make sense of this uncertainty and interconnectivity, and in doing so apply a practical lens over the Risk environments that our organisations face.

Jason Smith, Director, Risk Management Institute of Australasia

Risk is one side of the value coin and must be integrated to create and preserve success. In Risky Business, Bryan Whitefield provides practical advice for risk practitioners and other business leaders based on his decades of experience, imbued with his deep passion to help people understand how risk management can help them succeed.

Scott Langford, Group CEO, St George Community Housing

This book needed to be written. In fact it’s long overdue. It’s a realistic and very accurate account of what risk actually is and where it’s going and it is time we had a reference like this which is easy to understand and use and clears up many risk misconceptions.

If you have anything to do with managing risk then Risky Business is a must read!

David Turner, Managing Director, RiskNZ

In Risky Business Bryan has so cleverly deconstructed risk into what it is, what it’s perceived to be and what it should be – driving the success of an organisation, supporting stakeholders with available information to help them make informed decisions, and improving their engagement with partners.

Risky Business is an enlightening read offering key risk principals as a great ‘self-check’ for those experienced in risk and for new risk practitioners alike, to ensure we don’t become a handbrake to happiness in our own roles. Through Bryan’s summary of the risk journey he provides thoughtful insights and deep observations, untangling the technical jargon we stumble over today and even subject our colleagues to.

Bryan’s approach to sharing his strategies that have worked so successfully for him around risk management, decision making and influence, will maximise opportunities for even the most experienced risk practitioner out there. This book gifts leaders practical ideas, methods and tools to leverage their impact in their unique environments. Thank you Bryan!

Andrew Booth, Head of Operational Risk, Cotton On Group

There is a great opportunity for risk practitioners to increase their ability to positively contribute to the organisations they serve. Risky Business is a distillation of Bryan’s 30 years of diverse experience. Bryan takes the reader through a range of relevant content, theories and thinking.

His passion, experiences and examples bring it all to life and together illustrate how we can become trusted advisors and invited to contribute. His book provides an excellent summary of the thinking and tools that can enable risk-based decision making. As Bryan so simply puts it, the goal is to increase the chances of success.

Grant Gillingham, Group Risk Manager, Fisher & Paykel

Risky Business encapsulates all the important aspects of risk management in an easy to read format. It challenges the way risk is presented in organisations emphasising the importance of avoiding the jargon, understanding culture and the role of persuasiveness, all key elements so often neglected. It provides practical information on the development and use of time horizons and risk appetite, presented in a way that is meaningful and understandable.

Too often risk is seen from a compliance perspective and presented in a way that reinforces this mindset – perceived as the handbrake in the business, whereas Risky Business focuses on managing uncertainty to drive better outcomes. All organisations need to embrace uncertainty and pursue risk through better risk-based decision making.

Risky Business presents what can sometimes be seen as quite uninspiring topics in a refreshing and inspiring way. It is a book that should be read by anyone who has an interest in, or should have an interest in, how their organisation is managing risk. Bryan has yet again authored a book that distils his wealth of experience and presents it in a format that allows readers to readily apply the knowledge in their own context.

Valerie King, Executive Director - Risk, Uniting Church of Australia Qld Synod (UCAQ)

A must read for any budding Risk Professional while an excellent reference for anyone in leadership.

Tony Dudley, CFO and Head of Business Enablement, Transport Accident Commission

I have followed Bryan’s risk management articles over the years, and these are always very practical and insightful. This book continues the value-add which Bryan so ably conveys.

I could relate to many of the issues and solutions that Bryan has addressed in this latest book. Particular aspects which resonated were in respect to Risk Management Frameworks, Risk Appetite and the building of relationships with Risk Champions (Advocates) across the business.

I would encourage you to take the time to read this book.

Graeme Falloon, Manager Group Risk, Airline Industry

Online Launch of Risky Business