Risk-Speak is $#!t-Speak

Risk-Speak is $#!t-Speak

I have long complained that the risk profession has made risk management needlessly complex. Part of it is the creation of our own language. Risk-speak. We put “risk” in front of or after perfectly normal words like conduct, appetite and reputation.

By putting risk in front of or behind these words we feel we create an important emphasis for leaders. Worse still, when we really get going with all our jargon it’s like we are speaking Parseltongue, the language of serpents in the imaginary world of Harry Potter.

The result is we have separated risk out from the world of business. We have become an add-on. Something that must be done in addition to running a successful business.

Your focus must be on integrating risk into business-as-usual. Concentrate on blending good risk management principles into existing practices. Take procurement for example. The need for and approach to assessing risk for a procurement should be created and owned by the procurement function. By all means support them but let them design it into their framework and systems because they will know how best to do so while minimising red tape.

There are more tips on defeating risk-speak in my new book Risky Business: How Successful Organisations Embrace Uncertainty.

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Bryan Whitefield works with strategic leaders across all sectors to help organisations harness uncertainty – uncertainty is the strategic leader’s best friend. He is the author of DECIDE: How to Manage the Risk in Your Decision Making and Winning Conversations: How to turn red tape into blue ribbon. He is the designer of the Risk Culture: Build Your Tribe of Advocates Program for support functions and the Persuasive Adviser Program for internal advisers. Both can be booked individually or in-house.

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