Home > Risk > Why did the child not cross the road after the chicken?

Why did the child not cross the road after the chicken?

February 22, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

As parents, we teach out children to be careful. We don’t want them to take unnecessary risks, such as chasing a chicken across a busy street. At the very least, we train then to look both ways and make sure nobody is coming before starting out – and then to continue looking all the way across.

We are teaching them to be effective managers of their personal risks.

We don’t sit down with them once a quarter and identify, assess, evaluate, and respond to risks. They have to exercise good judgment every day of their young lives.

The same concepts applies to adults in their professional as well as personal lives.

Every time a manager, employee, board director, or member of our extended enterprise makes a decision, they need to understand and manage the related risks. Managing risks is, just like with the child, part of their daily business life.

But, who will teach these people the lessons taught to the children – not to take unnecessary risks and look both ways as they make business decisions?

Why, who else but the risk practitioner! Yes, you can argue that every manager should help their employees make effective decisions. But, the risk practitioner has the training and experience to act as the parent: the mentor and trainer of management, board, and staff – and let’s not forget the extended family members.

Are the risk officers in your organization good parents?

  1. February 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Well said Norman! The true measure of learning is whether or not a change in behavior takes place. Just as the child changes his or her behavior as a result of learning from the parent, so can organizational learners change their decision-making and risk behaviors as a result of training and mentoring from the organization’s “risk” care-giver.

  2. February 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Great post Norman. From a practical view, the message, or wisdom, that is offered up is often not desired, and further is not always well-received. Being a good risk manager requires confidence, leadership skills, solid business ethics, and a thick skin. Just as parents are not out to win popularity contests, Risk Managers must advocate what is an acceptable risk-taking framework (ISO 31000, OCEG Capability Model, COSO,…) for assessing risks while running a business (like crossing the street) such as obey laws and regulations (traffic signals and signs, stay within crosswalks) and also provide some practical guidance such as consider the prevailing business conditions in risk taking (look both ways, don’t run in attempt to dodge cars), and so on.

    Risk Managers should also “walk the talk” and be mentors, especially to those new to the field of risk management. You are doing this on a continual basis with your frequent blog posts and commentaries in discussion groups like this one, and please know that it is appreciated and most helpful to the profession. Keep up the great work!

  3. Radha
    February 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    As always Norman thank you for your great analogies. You break down concepts muddied by jargon and buzz words into simple ideas that one could readily evangelize in each of our organizations. Thank you for your guidance.

  4. Tripu Sudan Sapra
    February 23, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Risk manager need be a friend to protect the operational manager and not only a fault hunting one for his own fame & celebrity. He should be like parents and/or a Father in a church to spread awareness, to preach ethics of life and business as acceptable to society at large. The new managers must be trained for not to be emotional for business targets rather must analyse the biz, equation for all perspective of risks and nevertheless according the permitted risk appetite the decisions be taken. It is realy a good & simle elaboration of risk management.

  5. Martin Kicza
    February 24, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    A lot of points were quite well put and absolutely effective risk management is really down to the attitude of the children.

    I relate to the analogy and it was almost perfect. I don’t necessarily agree that the Risk Manager is the parent, merely the teacher/trainer, whereas the top of the ladder is the parent.

    Education, benefits more with teacher / parent partnership. The parent has a say in how they would like to be brought up, the teacher helps in this. On the Opposite side though the teacher teaches what the child needs to know, but requires the parent involvement and motivation to keep the child going.

  1. February 28, 2012 at 3:24 AM

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