As I look back to the year 2021, I am compelled to applaud each one of you #Moriskies for the strong sense of resistance, tenacity and devotion you’ve all put in to get this far. While many things gradually fell into place and went back to normal this year, it still had a couple of challenges which were also coupled with strategies around recovery from prior year losses.
Nonetheless, my greatest joy is in seeing risk management really becoming a major consideration for most organizations, especially those that were able to proactively manage the COVID-19 risk exposure and those that had rapid response plans to manage the risk exposure. Risk management proved to be a value add to organizations and businesses in many ways and management across many entities are now realizing its importance in meeting business objectives.
I must note that the year 2021 was coupled with multiple emerging risks that needed us to constantly change how we do things. This is why, as the year ends, we need to take a moment to pause, reflect and get feedback with respect to how we do things. Throughout this year, being a risk management practitioner has taught me that I’m not perfect. No matter how good I am at my job, if I do not enable the organization to manage risks effectively, I am simply on my own journey that is not adding any value.
Value addition and enabling the business is our core function and we need to constantly check in with the organizations we support and assess whether the risk maturity is improving or regressing. I remember in one of the engagements where I had an opportunity to present on risk management, the feedback was, “Thanks for simplifying the concept of risk management.” This was said by someone who I thought should have more understanding of risk management, given their position. It was definitely a wake-up call for me and I immediately realized that as risk managers, we are so passionate about our work that we can eventually forget that ours is to support the business and ensure that they understand what we are trying to achieve and see the value in it. If they don’t understand what we are trying to do, will they allow us to partner with them towards sustainable growth? Probably not! It’s now time to pause, reflect and get feedback. This can eliminate some of the friction we encounter with business and our frustrations of not meeting our risk maturity objectives.
It is important to pause in our journey and assess whether we are meeting our risk management objectives and adding value to the organization. Sometimes we get caught up in a lot of administration work and end up not giving the organization the deserved attention. This is why sometimes we need to just pause and see if the work you have been driving is actually embedded into the daily processes. One good way could be to take a well-deserved break.
When you go on leave, two things will happen. First, you will get to see if the business will continue to drive their risk maturity objectives in your absence. Secondly, you will have time to pause and re-energize ahead of another great work season. Do this and thank me later!
During or after the pause phase, as a risk manager you must also reflect on your personal journey. You must look into the set objectives and check if you’re on track. You must ask yourself why there are still bottlenecks that hinder risk maturity. As you reflect, you will start coming up with solutions and exploring more interesting ways to add value to the organization. When you take time to reflect, you become your own critic as you look back on the previous years and check whether there is growth or regression in the work you do. You then use what you gather to plan better going forward.
Reflecting can be done at an individual level or it can be done through strategy breakaways as a team where you work together towards a common goal. These sessions promote teamwork and solutionist thinking and enable everyone to contribute to the broader risk management strategy.
- GET FEEDBACK
As you may pause and reflect, you will still come back with a couple of questions and you probably cannot answer them on your own. This is an opportunity to get feedback. There are several ways you can get feedback. You can run surveys or create focus groups with your key stakeholders who can give you honest feedback on your successes and shortfalls. There is also informal feedback which I actually prefer as it is more relaxed and enables the other party to feel free and the receiver takes the feedback in a safer space where they do not feel attacked. It could be through lunch or over a cup of coffee. There is more information in the corridors than there is on your desk. If you listen closely, you might just find the missing link to adding real value to the organization.
While the feedback can sometimes be adverse, you still have to take it in and work on the key learnings to make the risk maturity journey more fun. Through feedback, we get to grow and see things differently and are better able to enhance our service offerings.
In conclusion, I want to thank all my followers for a great year. I have experienced exponential growth as a columnist, conference speaker and now radio host because of your continued support. Look out for my new risk management segment on GabzFM which airs Thursdays fortnightly at 20:00hrs called #MoriskiByNature. Let’s continue bringing risk management closer to the people. See you in 2022!
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