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Risk management challenges #4: Integration

As a risk management coach I see first hand some of the challenges organisations have when it comes to risk management. Many of the challenges are recurring and seem to be present regardless of times and trends. Other challenges come with changes in standards and expectations from stakeholders.

The new ISO 31000:2018 has great focus on integration of risk management in the organisations processes. Further on, integration between different management systems has become easier after standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management systems, ISO 14001 for environmental management systems and the upcoming ISO 45001 for health and safety management systems all follow the same high level structure.

Puzzle and challenges

Synonyms to integration are fusion, combination or blending. From a management systems perspective integration helps align our management systems in order to be more effective. From a risk management perspective integration is about information and action on all levels.

The integration challenge in risk management is two fold. We have to ask ourselves; how do we create a culture where risk is something that is identified and acted upon in all levels of our organisation and in all activities? In other words, how can we ensure that our leaders use risk management techniques and systematics to evaluate which factors introduce uncertainty and how these factors might affect the overall goals of the organisation? And how can we train employees to identify, evaluate and handle threats and opportunities that appear in their field of vision?

On the other hand, risk management integration means that risk management is a constant activity. To succeed in risk management integration, organisations have to, to some degree, move from running monthly risk meetings, to a more constant flow of risk identification and evaluation. The monthly touch down may not be obsolete, but there should also be a constant question appearing in operations and conversations: What are the risks in this specific situation, and what can I do about it?

My usual formula for risk management integration looks something like this:

  • Training (top to bottom and back)

  • Establishing common ground (across the organisation)

  • Patience and continuity mindset

  • Management focus (make risk mindset a requirement from leaders to employees)

  • Empowerment to act (ensure that people feel safe to act and report upon risk and current challenges)

However, I must admit that I still haven’t felt that complete sensation of a fully integrated risk management system. It seems to me that it is a type of goal that moves when you’re getting closer to it. I would very much like to hear your thoughts on the topic! Do you have a formula? Have you ever succeeded in fully integrating risk management?

If you would like to solve challenges such as this with other professionals, you are hereby invited to participate in my Mastermind session in Alicante from 22nd to 25th of May. It is called Risk-based thinking, for quality and risk management professionals, and my objective is to create a space where we can meet and openly discuss specific challenges we have in our day-to-day work, related to risk management, and pick each others brains on ways to improve and better approach our individual challenges.

During the Mastermind we will use four main approaches:

  1. Hot seat – all focus is on you and your challenges, until the group understands the specifics of your situation and your goals.

  2. Theory – I will prepare theory sessions based on the topics and challenges you are interested in working with. We will use these sessions as a base for discussion, but not as something to comply with.

  3. Peer support – working in smaller groups to outline specific plans and solutions will support each participant in getting the expected value from the Mastermind.

  4. Networking – it has been scientifically proven that we work better in teams when we have a relation to, and develop trust towards our peers. Food and wine will be provided. :)

This is post #4 about risk management challenges, and I have a couple more planned. In each post I discuss different challenges I find to be common in risk management. Anyone who comments will be rewarded with a 10% discount on the Mastermind, or on any of my risk management coaching services. The offer is valid until 31st of March 2018. If you’re not comfortable with commenting here, please feel free to send the comment to my e-mail.

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