Chief “No-Risk” Officer

Neil ButlerUntypical Thoughts

Most large corporate organisations have a Chief Risk Officer (CRO) – either someone with that title or someone who takes on responsibility for risk across the business. But I have a theory that we should rename them the Chief “No-Risk” Officer …

In my experience, projects are worked and re-worked until most, if not all, of the risk is eliminated, well before the proposal gets anywhere near the Chief Risk Officer. How often does a proposal land on the CRO’s desk that causes them to say “You want to do what?” or “Are you serious? I think we’d better work through some options”? I think the answer is either (a) never or (b) very rarely. Reports, proposals and ideas are generally revised, consolidated and sanitised on their way to final approval.

By the time the CRO sees any proposal, there is a significant likelihood that there will be very little, if any, risk to be considered.

In the world of TransformaginationTM, we are not constrained in our thinking. There are no limits to the possibilities. In our world, the Chief “No-Risk” Officer SHOULD be challenged. They should be made to wonder whether the proposal is too risky.

Change typically brings some risk and some reward. Transformation brings more risk but should deliver more reward. It goes without saying, then, that Transformagination brings even more risk but is where the biggest rewards are on offer. Bold and brave decisions need to made. Program teams must consist of dedicated people who are clear on the risk but committed to delivering the outcomes.

That doesn’t mean that Transformagination is for all organisations in all circumstances. It doesn’t mean that Transformagination ignores risk. It certainly doesn’t mean that you can barge through with no regard to what might happen if things go wrong. Sensible and rational thinking is also a key component of Transformagination.

But it does mean that a Chief Risk Officer will need to be on their game!

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