What is risk? Think about it — before you leap to answer. Do we really know and understand risk? Risk management requires that you constantly monitor recognized risks and continue to scan for new risks. This process cannot be accomplished with a ‘one and done’ mindset. Risk needs to be looked at in three dimensions and perhaps even four dimensions to begin to understand the “touchpoints” and aggregation of risk, potential to cascade, conflate and/or come to a confluence.

Ask yourself, “What is my organization’s risk absorption capacity? Where is our risk saturation point? At what point does our risk profile allow for risk deflection? At what point does our risk profile create a risk explosion for our organization?” These four questions, all too often, never get asked when conducting investigations into risk, threat, vulnerability, business impact and/or hazard analyses. How do you begin to answer these questions? First, you need to be open to complexity; second, you have to be able to see beyond the immediate; and third, you have to embrace the dynamic nature of risk as non-static.

“Because we are asking the wrong questions precisely, we are getting the wrong answers precisely; and as a result we are creating false positives.”

Uncertainty is not unidimensional, but also surrounds the potential impacts of forces such as globalization and decentralization, effects of movements of global markets and trade regimes, and the effectiveness and utility of risk identification and control measures such as buffering, use of incentives, or strict regulatory approaches. Crafting decisions when faced with uncertainty requires a blending of skills from strategic planning, risk management, competitive intelligence and business continuity. Unless we change the paradigm of competitive intelligence, risk and business continuity activities, we will continue to get false positives and find ourselves reacting to events instead of staying ahead of them.

Learning objectives:

  • Gain exposure to emerging, pragmatic concepts of risk management and uncertainty.
  • Better understand how competitive intelligence processes and practices (capabilities) can contribute to augmenting risk absorption capacity, risk buffering, overall risk management and strategy execution.

Geary Sikich is a seasoned risk management professional who advises private and public sector executives to develop risk buffering strategies to protect their asset base. With a M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance, Geary’s focus is human capital: what people think, who they are, what they need and how they communicate. With over 25 years in management consulting as a trusted advisor, crisis manager, senior executive and educator, Geary brings unprecedented value to clients worldwide. He is well-versed in contingency planning, risk management, human resource development and wargaming, as well as competitive intelligence, issues analysis, global strategy and identification of transparent vulnerabilities. Geary began his career as an officer in the U.S. Army after completing his BS in Criminology. As a thought leader, he leverages his skills in client attraction and the tools of LinkedIn, social media and publishing to help executives in decision analysis, strategy development and risk buffering. A well-known author, his books and articles are readily available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Internet.