A metaphor that explains GRC
I included a metaphor to explain my thinking on the relationship between governance and risk management in comments on this post. People seem to have enjoyed that, so I thought I would use a metaphor to explain my (and OCEG’s) view of GRC.
As a reminder, you can listen to a webinar on my view of GRC. The link is here, where I also have links to other posts on the topic.
You are listening to the great Izhak Perlman. He plays that violin like the maestro he is.
Now, I don’t know who would call Jimmy Carter a fine musician. He is playing his own music, by himself and certainly not from the same song sheet as the two great artists.
What does this represent? Instead of three violinists, imagine three groups of individuals performing risk management: in Treasury, IT, and Procurement. The violin section (a.k.a. risk management program) is highly fragmented and – to say the least – discordant. While two are great, the whole is not.
Why don’t we get the three to play as a trio, using the same style and playing from the same sheet music? Let’s eliminate the fragmentation.
From another room, you hear a trumpet.
It’s another great – Wynton Marsalis. He can play both classical and jazz, but whatever he is playing is not in sync with the newly created violin section. He is not listening to them, just creating his own wonderful music. In fact, it seems his loud instrument is competing with the violins for our attention, but all we are getting is blurred vision and a headache.
Why can’t they get together and play in harmony?
What does this represent? The violins and trumpet are playing in silos. They are not just ignoring each other; they are competing with each other and making each other’s sound harder to hear – and less effective. When musicians play in harmony, each may be brilliant but overall performance is something else.
The solution is embodied in the new word from OCEG: “orchestration”. I have been using the word “harmony”, thinking that it would be fine if we could get the alto, soprano, and bass to sing together in harmony. Scott Mitchell of OCEG suggested that the works should be orchestrated, implying greater optimization of the combined performance.
So if we can get our silos eliminated and the violins, trumpets, drums, etc. to cooperate and coordinate (i.e., embrace GRC) we get a fine orchestra. They may have to subordinate individual performance, but the combination is outstanding.