Four faces of Risk | Part 3

Four faces of Risk | Part 3

6 minute read

The Conscience


The four faces of risk

There are four personas that risk teams must be able to play, in order to help their organisations confidently manage risks in the real world; where objectives, design and enablers must work together to protect and grow value. 


So, what is the role of the conscience?

Yes, there is a role for check and challenge. But this must be as the conscience of management and the organisation, rather than as the overseer. This is the role that requires analysis, impartiality, the raising of the uncomfortable issues. It is also the role where you validate and verify the trust that you have in management.

To be a valuable conscience for leaders, your mindset and approach is crucial. Rather than seeing this as the role where you influence people to do what you think is right, the focus must be on helping them to do what they think is right.

As the conscience, you must be able to challenge your leaders to look inside themselves, and also to look at the right data in order to determine the most appropriate course of action.

So, what do you need to work on in order to be the conscience your leaders need…

  1. Check your assumptions – don’t rush to judgement that simply because someone is taking or proposing a course of action you do not align with that they need to change – understand why they may have a point of view and seek to reconcile that with a range of inputs.
  2. Be fact based – rely on data, facts and the verifiable to help people understand the best plan. Validate, verify and confirm before you seek to influence.
  3. Speak when you need to – often you can allow management to think through a challenge and come to a suitable conclusion without speaking. In many cases, risk people seek to stamp a view on proceedings too early and erode trust and their own influence.

Ultimately the role of the risk function is about conducting the orchestra, not playing the instruments. Choosing when to speak or hold back, choosing when to ask for more information or accept uncertainty is a key challenge for all risk professionals.

Choosing the right role to play at the right time is crucial, and being able to switch between these roles may seem difficult, but that is the challenge for the risk function. The reward – a seat at the table, and the trust of management to help them achieve their goals.

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