Give your risk assessment team a radical rethink

The problem with risk management is it’s easy to squander time and resources overthinking what might never happen.

There is a danger of your team becoming trapped in an echo chamber, where everyone simply nods along with the group view and nothing controversial rocks the boat.

Management is about recognising the factors you can control and accepting there are some things that you cannot deal with that are external to your business.

So here are four radical steps that a business can take to shake up the risk assessment process.


Spread the risk

If senior managers make up most or all your risk assessment team, then it may be beneficial to make sure that you replace some of the bosses in favour of people nearer the front line who run the processes you are looking at.

They will understand the procedures and will identify the strong and weak points.

A balanced team starting at the board and going down to the front-line staff will give a broader perspective. Bringing representatives from across your business on to the team should also aid team-building and information sharing across the organisation.


Break the system

Encourage the risk assessment team to test your systems to breaking point to spot likely issues.

Rather than sitting round a table and talking about risk, set up a sandbox and see what happens if you play with the systems in real-life scenarios without any concerns about harming day-to-day activities.


Don’t try and control everything

Remember to accept you cannot control every factor that may impact your business.

Some outcomes are inevitable and require reactive thinking.

It’s better to look at risks you can manage and work towards the best way of dealing with them.

Scoring to give some risks a priority should reveal the most urgent to deal with, while setting aside the less urgent for another time.

Your team can waste time and money tracking unlikely incidents instead of concentrating on the mundane, everyday matters that are more unlikely to cause concern.


Don’t live in the past

It’s easy to get trapped into looking at the past in a bid to try to predict the future.

Risk management is often based on analysing reams of historical data, but while concentrating on known risks is valuable to your planning, many businesses miss out on the value this data can add to strategic and business planning for senior managers.

The idea is to encourage your risk team to think outside the box and to consider fresh ways of approaching their task.

Review the way your risk team works every few months to make sure they are not going stale.

It’s a good idea to have a risk management squad to choose your team from to keep thinking fresh – You should also consider talking to your professional indemnity insurer about current concerns and trends. That way, your business is likely to keep on top of new risks to the way you work.

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