Every Risk Moment Matters

As leaders, we understand the significance of every moment in both our professional and personal lives. From moments of triumph to moments of peril, each experience has the potential to leave a lasting impact. It is, therefore, crucial for us to cultivate an understanding of how to navigate such moments and make them count.

Chip Heath’s book, ‘The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact’ offers invaluable insights into how to approach these defining moments. Through his work, Heath reminds us of the importance of recognising and seizing these critical junctures. He challenges us to consider the significance of the moments that matter most and encourages us to make them come alive.

As leaders, we must apply these insights to both our leadership and risk management. We must recognise the importance of moments that can make or break our organizations and use them to our advantage. By embracing these pivotal moments, we can inspire our teams to reach new heights and ensure that our organisations thrive.

‘Our lives are measured in moments, and defining moments are the ones that endure in our memories.’

Every single one of us has the opportunity to turn what we do for our customers into truly defining moments. Too often we spend time considering what we do in terms of what we achieve, rather than how it makes each moment special for our customers.

Shifting from judging to supporting

As risk managers, our perspective must shift from merely “judging” to “supporting and growing.” In doing so, we can ensure that every risk moment matters and our organisations are well-positioned to succeed.

However, this is no easy feat. It requires us to identify how our actions support all three lines of defence simultaneously, rather than focusing solely on the role of the second line. As we outlined in our previous blog post on the topic of the ‘3 Lines of Defence‘ model, the symbiotic relationship between each line is crucial to effective risk management.

To support and grow our organisations, we must take a holistic view of risk management. We must work collaboratively with colleagues in all three lines of defence and embrace a culture of transparency and accountability. By doing so, we can identify potential risks and develop proactive strategies to mitigate them.

As risk managers, it is also essential to recognise that risk management is not solely about avoiding negative outcomes. It is equally about identifying opportunities for growth and innovation. By taking a supportive and growth-oriented approach, we can help our organizations take calculated risks that lead to positive outcomes.

Taking the customers’ perspective

Shifting our perspective as risk managers means looking at every engagement (framework), enquiry (advisory) and review (assurance) as the opportunity to support and grow our customers.

In doing so, we must take the perspective of the external customer in our engagement. We must focus on achieving community and customer expectations through simplicity, easiness and kindness. Most importantly we must not step back under the veil of the 2nd line, but step forward as the 2nd line.

‘Moments matter. And what an opportunity we miss when we leave them to chance!’

Chip Heath

The job of a risk manager is not just about managing risks, but also about delivering valuable products and services to support customers and organisations. This means that every engagement, workshop, or report is a meaningful moment that must not be left to chance. In other words, risk managers must ensure that each risk moment matters.

To achieve this, risk managers must approach their work with a focused intention of adding value to their stakeholders, particularly the board and management. This is not always an easy task, as risk managers must balance the need to “call things out” with the need to be positive and supportive.

However, being positive does not mean avoiding facts or failing to identify risks. Rather, a positive approach means looking at risks through the lens of opportunity rather than judgment. This allows risk managers to identify and address risks in a constructive way that supports their stakeholders’ goals.

It is important to note that even the most experienced risk managers will not always get it right. In those moments, the key is to navigate the challenging conversation in a way that promotes positive outcomes. This may involve providing additional information, suggesting alternative strategies, or simply listening to stakeholders’ concerns.

Leaders must take accountability

However, sometimes being positive means calling a spade a spade. As risk managers, we have a responsibility to identify and communicate risks, even when doing so is uncomfortable or difficult. However, it is ultimately up to those who are accountable for making decisions to take action and make those risk moments matter.

Risk managers are not the conscience of an organisation, particularly those who are ultimately accountable for outcomes. Unfortunately, in many organisations, there is a tendency to shift blame and responsibility away from ourselves, rather than taking ownership of our actions and decisions.

Being accountable does not mean being perfect. It means recognising when things don’t go as planned and taking responsibility for our role in the outcome. By doing so, we can learn from our mistakes and make better decisions in the future

In Summary: Making each Risk Moment Matter

Every risk moment matters and risk managers must take ownership of each element of their role as a product or service that supports their stakeholders. By approaching their work with a focused intention of adding value and adopting a positive, constructive approach to risk management, risk managers can help their organisations navigate uncertainty and achieve their goals.

‘to defy the forgettable flatness of everyday work and life by creating a few precious moments’.

Chip Heath
Scott North
Scott North has extensive executive and board experience in risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, governance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology architecture, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. With Chief Risk Officers roles across financial services in Australia, Scott is an accomplished and experienced senior risk executive with extraordinary results in leading risk management teams. An innovative and process-focused leader, with an entrepreneurial style. Scott has a passion for innovation and digital. Scott is an experienced project leader across multiple disciplines including risk, finance and enterprise systems.

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