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We just welcomed the New Year. We made our personal New Year’s resolutions. Now we are back to the
workplace grind. And with the new
year, we revisit corporate strategies,
tactics, goals and objectives. We
develop individual performance,
incentive and business plans. For the
risk manager it means it is time to dust
off that risk register from last year and
give it a good refresh.
A risk register records risks identi;ed
Risks are selected for treatment and
at the beginning and during the life of
your corporate strategy. The risks are
graded usually in terms of likelihood of
occurrence and seriousness of impact
on the corporate goal or objective.
plans for mitigating the risk and
responsibilities of the prescribed
mitigation strategies are noted.
I tend to approach the task as if I
were in a giant gyroscope. I try to
give myself a 360-degree view of my
environment. Bring together your
corporate risk council of subject matter
experts to help you and ensure you all
take a good look around backwards,
sideways and forward.
According to Warren Buffet, “In the
business world, the rear-view mirror
is clearer than the windshield.” Some
may argue against this statement, but I
do see truth in it. The past does leave
So, before we note new risks for
2018, ;rst we should take an honest
look in the rear-view mirror for 2017.
There is much to learn from the past
and it is important to digest the lessons
learned from previous years.
When looking backwards, ask
yourself if you got it right in last year’s
risk register. If you were off, why?
Do a post mortem. Did your register
miss any risk trends? If so, how was it
these risks crept up on you? What was
a surprise, and what was not? What was
exaggerated? What was understated?
Also, it is important to take an
inventory of what did happen. Did
your organization have any notable
incidents, or near misses?
Did you experience any regulatory
changes? Any political changes? Major
Evaluate if last year’s risk
mitigations and treatment plans
worked. Which ones are still ongoing
and move into the new year?
Once done looking to the past it’s
time to look sideways. Look to your
neighbors and competitors for new
emerging risks they may be creating
Listen for any new industry or trade
rumors. Look for upcoming trends for
your industry. What are the risks posed
to your organization by these trends?
Now it’s time to look forward
through the windshield. Look at the
corporate strategy for the year. What
are the key goals? How do they differ
from the year before?
Your risk register is a living
document. Risks change as your
business, your industry and your
operating environment change. It is
essential to refresh your list with any
new risks and check the effectiveness of
your risk treatment strategies. &
JOANNA MAKOMASKI is a specialist in
innovative enterprise risk management
methods and implementation techniques.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY JOANNA MAKOMASKI